I started doing some research because I was horrified by my own visions of screeching chickens, blood and feathers. I knew this wasn't a practice I would ever do. In my search for more information, I heard a great story.
When those of us who have dedicated our lives to promoting a Godly vision of the world even appear to subvert others, we slowly (or immediately, depending on the gravity of the action) destroy that which we purport to elevate: God.
Heart-searching is at the heart of the High Holy Days. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offer us the opportunity to come out of hiding, to honestly assess our current life circumstances, and to begin paving the way for the New Year.
Repentance, even when it falls short, is still a mark of moral resolve and personal courage. This is the moral lesson that I take from the life of Robert Byrd in the weeks leading up to this Yom Kippur.