We are all broken: can we heal? Yom Kippur thoughts from a Jewish artisan

Gold and pearl kippah on blue multi fabric Sometimes, a filament of a thought or a prayer comes to me as I'm working with wire, weaving strand after strand, hopefully, making a piece both beautiful and strong. Sometimes, I will have forgotten about a flaw which was present from the beginning, thinking, "I'll come back and fix that later", but later gets delayed and sometimes, overlooked, until a repair MUST be made or the whole thing falls apart.

A dear friend who is a former mechanic taught me that, in "tool talk" that's when a piece called a shank is required, to repair and even strengthen the damaged bit, so that it can hold onto the rest of the work. Perhaps that is why the angel who wrestled with Jacob wrenched his shankbone: so that Jacob would see and feel his own brokenness, come to terms with it, and resolve to make the necessary repairs in his relationship with his brother, Esau. Jacob is resolved to perform the fixes he needs to make,


as Frodo said to Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring movie,

"It's  just that...I am afraid to do it."

That's why Jacob asks for a blessing from the angel: for the strength to heal the break within himself, so that he might  perform a tikkun (healing act) between himself and his twin.

On the upcoming Day of Atonement, may the broken shankbone within each of us be healed by our own inner effort, and by working to effect repairs between ourselves and others. If we do this (and we are the only ones who can), then our connecting filaments will be made stronger and more beautiful in the coming year. Ken Yehi Ratzon. May it be the Divine will.

Yael Fischman

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