The Celebrity Therapist

The Celebrity Therapist

The Day of Atonement


The Day of Atonement


The end of this week is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Sometimes it’s mistakenly thought of as the day we reflect on our mistakes and ask for forgiveness. But that’s not what atonement means. Atonement means reparation for a wrong or an injury. It means making things right.


            On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, we reflect and repent. Tradition says that when we do, God inscribes our name in the Book of Life for another year. On Yom Kippur, God closes the book for the coming year–the judgment is sealed. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we atone.

            But Yom Kippur atones only for misdeeds between humans and God–broken vows and broken rules. We take these misdeeds up with God, who looks in our hearts and forgives. To atone for sins against another person, including hurting their feelings, Jewish law says we have to take that up directly with the person we hurt. We must acknowledge what we’ve done to that person and, if at all possible, right the wrong.


            To me, this sounds a lot like steps 8 and 9 in a 12-step program. Step 8 says we make a list of all the people we’ve harmed and be willing to make amends to them all. Step 9 says we actually do make amends. It’s a kind of atonement.

            The fact that we have a period of time every year set aside for atonement tells me something interesting about us humans–something the Jews knew even in ancient times; Everybody does things they need to atone for. They do them year after year. We’re imperfect beings; there’s no getting around that. But, as imperfect as we are, we can acknowledge what we’ve don’t wrong, atone and move on. It’s always possible.


            There’s a nice little video about this on, a website dedicated to Jewish education. (It’s at The video is called Everyone Falls, and the main message is that the only thing worse than messing up is holding onto it afterwards.

            Atonement wipes the slate clean. And that means everyone’s life–no mater what you’ve done in the past–is always full of possibilities.


  • yuyu

    Dear customers, thank you for your support of our company.
    Here, there’s good news to tell you: The company recently
    launched a number of new fashion items! ! Fashionable
    and welcome everyone to come buy. If necessary, please
    plut: http://www.newgoin .com We need your support and trust!! ! ++++++++++

  • Dave C.

    Thank HP for steps for 8 & 9. I can finally look myself in the mirror; and I have hope for the future removal of those character defects in me which still persist. Just another example of how these beautiful spiritual principles are universal and not just for addicts. =)

Previous Posts

Controlling Stress In Addiction Recovery
Stress is a six letter word that is probably one of the most damaging words in the English language when it comes to recovery from an addition. This is true for the "hard" addictions like alcohol and drugs as well as for addictions like ...

posted 3:35:47pm Jan. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Walking Through Fear: What’s the Worst Thing That Could Happen?
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, a psychotherapist and life, love, and recovery coach, is featured on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. Sherry is the author of  The Law of Sobriety, which uses the Law of Attraction to help people recover from addiction. Get your free ...

posted 3:28:09pm Oct. 31, 2014 | read full post »

Why I Created Wake Up Recovery
Four years ago when my book, "The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery" came out I knew there had to be ways to get my message out besides the book so I did speaking engagements, tele-conferences, workshops, ...

posted 3:42:28pm Sep. 17, 2014 | read full post »

When One Addiction Replaces Another: The Rob Kardashian Story
While Rob Kardashian is certainly not the household name of his two sisters Kim and Khloe, he is also not an unknown to those that watch the family reality show “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”. It wasn’t too long ago that Rob ...

posted 1:13:29pm Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Signs Of Danger: When Love Turns To Addiction
Love addiction can be equated to the need to be in a relationship regardless of how potentially damaging, abusive or even potentially self-destructive it may be. Often, when people are in a relationship, maintaining the relationship becomes all ...

posted 2:55:49pm Jun. 04, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.