Al Chet

Elul 11

For the sin which we have committed before You

by casting off the yoke of Heaven.


Who wants to be yoked to anything anyway? The word itself implies work and bondage. It reeks of a lack of independence. Someone always around to tell us what to do and when to do it. We instinctively want nothing to do with a yoke. We ourselves are the best judge as to what is in our own best interest, aren’t we?


But the yoke of heaven is one placed on us by our Heavenly Father, He who lovingly designed and created us, He who is our King. Because of who He is, we voluntarily allow Him to place that yoke on us. He wants us to follow His directions (Torah) for how to live our lives because He knows that is the path to true contentment (darchei noam) and the peace of wholeness (shalom).


When we break loose from this yoke, we do so because we don’t trust Him to lead us down the right path to contentment and shalom. We think we’ve found a shortcut. Yeshua mentioned that shortcut when He said “broad is the path to destruction.” In Matthew 11, He tells us his yoke is how He leads us down the right path.


Yom Kippur is the season when we acknowledge where the shortcuts led us to being lost, and beseech the LORD to put the yoke back on us, renewing us for His service and getting us back on the right path to shalom.


Adonai, our Ruler and King, we accept the yoke of heaven. We submit humbly to You, knowing that You have promised the yoke will not bear us down. We reject the patterns of the past where we have fought against this yoke. Like the ox before the cart of a good master, we yield ourselves to go where You would have us go and to do what You would have us do. We will follow Your direction, which guides us in the path of wholeness - true shalom.