We are halfway through the High Holy Days now. Yom Kippur closes the days of awe, or perhaps more accurately, the days of dread. It is somewhat mystically believed that our names are written in the Book of Life at this time. We believe that God has appointed certain times for Jews, and sometimes for non-Jews, that should be observed. There is a profound mystery in all that, but many of my readers and friends are agnostic and self-proclaimed atheists, and I’ll not bore you by a rather tedious explanation of them.
We have two more days in this rotation of fall Holy Days, Succot and Simcha Torah. It is believed by our sages that these two moedim will be observed by all nations after the Moshiac comes. Succot will require a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where all people will reside in temporary structures.
Jews observe (we observe, Christians and Muslims celebrate) the moed by dwelling in temporary structures called sukkah’s, or booths as King Jimmieth calleth them. Every year, I think I’ll observe the moed, but for some reason I never get one built. I am building a representative one in the entrance to our synagogue. But it just looks like one. No one will dwell in it. Probably a good thing, since it is a public sidewalk!
Then the final observance is a celebration, Simchah Torah, or Joy of the Torah. The Torah scroll is taken out of the ark, and with dancing and leaping, it is carried about the synagogue by the congregants. On the first circuit, the Torah is carried by the eldest congregant, then the synagogue leaders, and lastly by the congregants. I had the unfortunate honor at my old congregation of being the resident geezer. I don’t dance, and at my age, I don’t leap for joy, so the first round is a sedate one.
Then it is on with our lives. The white clothes are washed, bleached and put away for the next holy day.
So anyway … here I sit in my studio, late late morning the day after prayers and fasting, and return to an ordinary humdrum existence again. It is a bit like being on vacation, where there is excitement and joy of the occasion, but also the joy in returning home to resume the familiar rites of day to day living.
We have a new addition to the family. A white and blue parakeet we have named Kippur. Kippur is still in shock at being taken from his display cage with other budgies, pushed into a darkened traveling box, then put into a new cage by the window. But he did break into song briefly this morning, so maybe he will quickly adjust to his new home.
So here we are, sipping the last dregs of java, talk radio ranting in the background, and looking out at the wild verges that need the tender touch of a rotary mower blade. Maybe I will, then again, maybe I wont.