Today on Yom Kipur, I’m grateful that Religion News Service chose this fitting day of atonement to post a short interview with American Rabbi, Danya Ruttenberg. Rabbi Danya has just published a new book, On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in a Non-Apologetic World, which I’m very keen to read. Several comments from this short interview struck me.
First, her answer to a question about slavery reparations to African Americans offers some insight into what an ongoing process of reconciliation and dialogue with indigenous Canadians might look like.
Truth-telling is so vital. A robust process of national truth-telling to echo Archbishop Tutu’s (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) where everybody understands what’s been done to Black Americans, not just enslavement, but everything since. We don’t stop until people find changes of the sort this country has never seen.
Also, her comment about repentance as a kind of self-care, as in healing of the soul/self, is helpful in terms of better understanding how repentance and atonement help us better inhabit the image of God, the self that God wants us to be.
If you’re causing harm, something’s off with you. You’re not aligned with your integrity, your values, your highest self. This is a chance to say, “Hey self, you’re not acting like the person I know you to be. You’re not listening to the voices inside talking about who you can really be. Are you so stressed out you’re not paying attention to other people? How do you get back to wholeness? The work of teshuva (the Hebrew word for “return” or “repentance”) is an opportunity to grow into the person you could be. That’s an amazing opportunity.
I’ve got the book on order, more here soon.