Yom Ki-Purim

So this is the drashah that came out of my mouth Friday night at services (I usually have no clue what it’s going to be till right before I’m saying it):

There’s a place (Talmud? Midrash?) where the rabbis ask, “What is Yom Kippur?” Only they use the other version of its name, “Yom haKippurim.” (“Day of the Atonements,” instead of “Day of Atonement.”) So they ask, “What is Yom haKippurim?” And they answer: “Yom ki-Purim, a day like Purim.”

On the face of it this seems absurd. What does the holiest, hardest, most solemn and important day of the Jewish year have to dow ith the silliest, most topsy-turvy, most lighthearted day of the Jewish year? How can you call Yom Kippur Yom ki-Purim?

The essence of YK is not the fasting, or the great music, or the vidui, nor the shofar at the end. The essence is relationship repair: with others, with God as necessary, and with ourselves. And the same sense of humor that loves Purim is a necessary part of mending relationships. Being able to act goofy, to laugh at yourself, keeps you humble. Again, a good tool in one’s relationship maintenance and repair toolkit.

And finally, Purim is a day for things being topsy-turvy. Perhaps that’s a pointer to the need to look at things from a new perspective — again, an important part of relationship repair and maintenance.