Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Day of Attachment

It's Yom Kippur.

As you read this know that I am depriving myself of all food, suffering from terrible coffee breath, and asking a pretend God for pretend forgiveness for any slights or sins I have committed in the past year.

I will be performing this ritual, just as I have since the time I was 5. Just as my tribe has for the past 5,000 years.

So why do it if I don't place a lot of stock in the God/Torah/Talmud/kosher thing? That's a good question. Not just for me, but for most of the other 900 or so congregants who are sitting here at synagogue singing the Hebrew songs that don't mean anything or listening to the rabbis tell stories about people who begat other people who begat still more people.

In a recent poll it was revealed that 52% of Jews, God's Chosen People, don't believe in the entity that chose them.

So again, why are we all here dressed in our Saturday best?

My wife will tell you it's a chance to enjoy three hours of spiritual refreshment. No cell phones, no emails, no mundane responsibilities. A pleasant opportunity to sit down, stand up, recite verse and relax.

For me it's something different. I take my kids to services on the High Holy days, because my parents (also atheists) took me to services on High Holy Days. I hear those familiar prayers and I am transported back to a time of polyester suits, when the women would sneak off to the bathroom for a smoke. And the men, including my father, would step out in the parking lot for a tipple from the flask of scotch he always kept by his side.

That connection never fails to move me.
Nor does the experience of being with fellow members of the tribe.

You see, I don't know most of their names. And I don't know if they keep Kosher. I don't know if they wash their cars on the Sabbath, to the dismay of of their neighbors in Beverlywood.

But here's what I do know.

I know that these 900 congregants want to leave the world a better place than the way they found it. I know they are interested in justice, compassion and doing well by others. Not because there's some reward in it, or a punishment for thinking otherwise. And I know I'd rather be part of a tribe that doesn't  judge others, doesn't proselytize, and doesn't hate members of other tribes.

Even it means going without a turkey club sandwich with melted pepperjack cheese for 24 hours.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Melted Pepperjack. Saw them at the Whiskey in '97.