Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Another Yom Kippur has come and gone. Over and done with... for a year, anyway. That gives us plenty of time to accumulate another pile of sins for which to atone.

[I don’t give a crap about Glenn Beck’s attempt to designate the day as a National Day of Fasting and Prayer. For us Jews, Yom Kippur is always a day of fasting and prayer. Anyone else who wants to join the fun, you’re welcome to it.]

The day went by quickly, as befits a Fast Day. It began early, as the Missus and I arrived at shul shortly after 7 a.m. in order to queue up and be among the first into the sanctuary when the doors opened at 7:30... the whole point being to score good seats. Sure, we could cough up a few hundred simoleons for reserved seats, but it’s more fun to schmooze with the gang of Semi-Regular Attendees as we wait in line.

Morning services proper started at 8:30 a.m. Jewish Daylight Time - in other words, at about 8:35 - and continued until sometime around 2:00 p.m. Included therein was a thoroughly depressing sermon having to do with the fact that all of us, eventually, will manage to find our way into a hole in the ground. The point, I suppose, was to remind us that no matter what our status, wealth, or fame, we all end up in the same place. There also might have been something to the effect of “make hay while the sun shines,” but by this time half the congregation was wondering whether it would be a violation of halakha - Jewish law - to cut their throats right there during the service. [Just kidding, Rabbi.]

A few days earlier, several of us had set up a betting pool, with the winner providing the closest prediction of the length of the sermon. Irwin the Paintner won, having picked 35 minutes.

At several points in the festivities, we recite Ashamnu and Al Cheit - lengthy litanies of sins that we may have committed during the past year, either individually or as part of our community. As we mention each Bad Deed, we give ourselves a klop - beat our breasts - as a symbolic declaration of guilt. Given that each confessional prayer is recited a total of ten times during the course of the holiday, that’s about 770 smacks on the breast all told... enough klopping to give a person Kloppal Tunnel Syndrome.

Services resumed at 5:30 in the afternoon, and the Missus and I were there to assist in the Torah service. We did not, however, stick around for the Bitter End, having had plans to join friends for a break-fast meal. I managed to stick it out for 26 hours, though, so that’s no small beer.

I broke my fast with a healthy belt of Glenlivet 12-year-old single malt and a chunk of SWMBO’s Apricot Kugel. Aaaahh. Nothing improves the taste of food more than doing without it for a day... and if it’s delicious in the first place, why, so much the better.

Now our spiritual focus begins to shift from penitence to joy, with the impending arrival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. And Fall is most definitely in the air. Today we awoke to a beautiful, blue-sky morning with temperatures in the lower 50’s.

If that’s not a sign that the Big Guy answers prayers, what is?

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