If you can't tell from all my posts, I am really enjoying learning at Aish here in Minneapolis. I learn something new practically every day. Tonight is Kol Nidre, and while I recognize the fact that I am not supposed to be writing on this holy day, I am so filled with joy and hope and possibility and renewal that I can't keep it all inside. I am almost 40 and I feel as if I have had my eyes closed this whole time. All I write below is new to me this year.
Kol Nidre means "all vows." It is the time that we prepare for the true atonement of Yom Kippur, by saying (with the permission of G-d) all the vows and oaths we took this past year, all the promises we made are now null and void. It cleans the slate so we can atone, so we can begin anew. The cantor says it three times, because to do a thing three times means you "own" it, you have internalized it, are invested in it. If you (according to Jewish law, not civil law obviously) live on land for three years and no one throws you off, you are seen as owning it. If you do a mitzvah three times in a row, it is as if you have made a commitment to keep that mitzvah.
I never knew what Kol Nidre meant. I can hear the tune in my head, I can probably even sing a lot of it, but I never knew the translation. I am so lucky to be involved with a community where not only are you invited to ask any question, but all questions are treated with equal value and a search for a meaningful answer.
I hope that all my friends and family, and all the Jews both in the land of Israel and without, have an easy and meaningful fast. G'mar Chatima Tovah (literally "a good and final sealing" in the Book of Life). May I be forgiven for all my wrongs, intended or accidental, and may I do better this year, may I have more opportunities to live the vision that G-d has for me.