Welcome to Yom Kippur, or as spell check calls it, Tom Kipper.
You probably know it is the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. If you didn’t — you do now.
It’s roughly a week behind Rosh Hashanah, ‘head of the year,’ the Jewish new year. That’s when Jews say Shana tova to each other, meaning “good year.”
The proper response is not gesundheit. The proper response is U’metuka, meaning, and sweet.
Services can be loud because it calls for the blowing of the shofar, the horn of an animal, usually a ram.
This ain’t exactly a trombone and it makes me wonder why the ancient Hebrews couldn’t have put a little more thought into this. On the other hand, well, at least it’s not bagpipes. But I digress, and I hate to blow my own horn. (You may groan.)
For the “chosen people,” we are in the year 5782, because our calendar counts from the time of creation.
Before moving on, that “chosen people” term has caused us a lot of trouble. Sounds arrogant and narcissistic as Gavin Newsom. (Not getting political — too many white teeth and too much product in his hair.) “Chosen people” means chosen to deliver word of only one, singular God. And His laws. Honestly, it’s been more of a burden than a blessing.
For a people who have created scads of scientists, the age of Earth is embarrassing, because we know the Earth is at least 10,000 years old. (Actually, it’s more like 4.5 billion years old I was told by Carl Sagan, who was a famous astronomer — and Jewish.)
So we do what anyone does when caught in a factual bind, we say the 5782 is a metaphor, or a count in God’s time, not Man’s time. Sort of like dog years.
Anyway, the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which began Wednesday evening, is called the “days of awe.”
Because it had to be called something, I guess, and splendor in the grass was taken.
Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement and Jews are supposed to fast.
Because it is solemn, you goys must not wish your Jewish friends a “happy Yom Kipper.”
That would be like at Easter wishing Christians a “happy crucifixion.”
You catch my drift. What you can say is, “easy fast.”
Jews are forbidden to eat, drink, work, watch TV, carry money, wear leather shoes, or play a ukulele on Yom Kippur.
Basically, you spend the day in synagogue, or shul, atoning for the bad things you have done during the year, and promising to do better. (In case you’re wondering where Christians got the idea for confession.) By apologizing, you are hoping the Holy of Holies will write your name into the Book of Life for another year. (Do not confuse with the Monotone’s “The Book of Love” hit in 1957. If you are reading online, click here.
I don’t belong to a synagogue, and faithful readers know I have my own direct channel to God and interview him during the holiday season.
Your holiday season — Christmas.
Back to Yom Kippur. I suggested a lot of Jews go into science — along with law, education, banking, literature, and the Broadway musical theater — so naturally there is an “out” on fasting. If you have a medical problem, you are excused from fasting and I’ve never seen so many Jews happy about their diverticulosis.
Me, I stay home and have a chat with God, and act as my own defense attorney. That conversation is privileged, of course, but this I can make public:
If I have offended you during the past year, and you did not deserve it, I am heartily sorry. (If you deserved it, tough noogies.)
If I was short-tempered, I regret it.
If you provoked me, why don’t you apologize?
I’m hearing a celestial voice telling me I’ve strayed from the apology path.
Oh — I wrote this Wednesday before sundown and set it to post automatically on Thursday.
I think that is permitted.
If not, I apologize.