Yom Kippur

Oh this dreaded day. No longer do I ascribe to such things, but I do feel that spirits lurk. Yes, take away the fantasy of religious theology, and you are left with the pure sensations of living. Genetic embossing on my my bones, my blood, my brain.

There is no school today so we are home. The lingering guilt of yom kippur is that anything, I mean ANYTHING you do today, is a slight against what is supposed to be. You are not supposed to do anything (let alone write). No eating, washing, driving, spending, working. Only praying.

If that were true though, why don’t Mayans, and Norwegians, Christians, Moslems, Buddhists or Taoists participate today? Somehow the decision to abandon the cloth (the cloth is a reference to the talis and Judaic observance), should be replaced with something even holier?

So today, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, I am aware. Aware that the ABOVE is an unknown. That no rabbi or priest in their current manifestations could ever explain to me what my relationship to the universe should be. And even more so, how.

Traditionally I have referred to the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as “National Jewish Depression Week’ Which is to say that no matter what or where you are, the Jewish upbringing, whether religious or not, implants into us this code of solemnity every time this day roles around the calendar again.

But this year is different. I am recognizing the full scope of feeling that is accompanying this solemnity. Somehow a deep respect for the potential of human beings is being incorporated into this day. To put superstition and dogma, religious rhetoric and biblical reinterpretations aside and just feel a true connection. I think Buddha may have held the key, and it is possible that the rebbes of ancient times had it too, but it has been forgotten. Lost in the sands between Egypt and Judea. This search within that could open the way to a true relationship with the above, the universe.

In the opening of all Jewish prayer. it begins “Blessed Oh Lord of the Universe” as if there is one being who holds it all. But that for me is too conceptual. My preference is to let it remain a question and say “Oh Universe, what are you and how do we relate?”

This may have nothing to do with education and it has everything to do with education. There is a sense that I have violated the tone of the blog by posting something off topic. But I don’t think anything is off topic, unless we start talking about tulips.

It is a struggle for me to put aside the associations that Yom Kippur brings. In my kitchen burn candles which honor our parents who are no longer with us. This is a necessary reminder of what our parents mean for us. Whether they were good at it or not, we are here because of them. They educated us, not even being aware of what they were doing most of the time. Unconscious input.

But here I am, with a new responsibility. To dispense with the unnecessary and discover what is needed. To forge a new relationship with this day. A free choice. Not imposed. To go about my day with an open heart. To feel a love for the life that is a gift, and forget all the problems that act as distractions. To sense that our society is a huge construct, regarding everything as a manifestation of illusion, and just accept being. To allow the creativity that comes from my person, to be an expression of my deep wish to relate to life in a new way. This is my Yom Kippur prayer.

Gut Yontiff.


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