Sunday, September 19, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 64: That's NOT My Underwear

In most households, such a sentence would probably be followed by a marital dispute of some sort. Fortunately, that is not the case in ours.

As part of their High Holy Days celebration, Temple Micah partners with the Community Council for the Homeless/Friendship Place (CCH) for an annual underwear drive. The drive begins on Rosh Hashanah and continues beyond Yom Kippur to the end of October and the holiday known as Sukkot.

Tradition states that, following the High Holy Days, the Temple priests would change their undergarments for the coming year. During Yom Kippur morning services, our rabbi referenced the Garden of Eden, and told the story of God providing clothing for Adam & Eve. He explained that providing clothing for the needy is an important mitzvah that we can all perform.

Nightfall yesterday brought with it the end of both the Jewish High Holy Days and the 25-hour mandated fast for all Jews.

We are almost a year into our exploration of Judaism, and, as a (relatively) young couple with no family history of Judaism, this has been a journey in which the blind has lead the blind at every turn. We have completed our 16-week Introduction to Judaism class. We participated in Purim. We attend Shabbat services and enjoy a Shabbat dinner when we can. We have monthly meetings with our sponsoring rabbi. We knew that our attendance was all but mandated for the High Holy Day services.

Rosh Hashana is considered to be the Jewish New Year. You wouldn't know it, though. There are no fireworks. No concerts in Times Square. The only real similarity is with the custom of making New Year's Resolutions. For Jews around the world, Rosh Hashana is a time for deep introspection...a time when you consider the mistakes of the past year and think about how you can improve yourself in the year to follow.

Connecting Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are the Days of Awe, in which you are to consider the sins of the past year and seek repentance prior to Yom Kippur.

The High Holy Days conclude with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. A day of fasting, self denial, and deep personal prayer. The interesting thing about repentance in the Jewish world is that you do not seek it from God. You seek it from those that you have wronged. What good is God's forgiveness if you are still hurting those around you?

Neither one of us could honestly cast our lot with the most devout in the land, but we have both learned a lot and developed spiritually over the past several months. We've done a fairly good job of wading threw the pond of Judaism, but I don't think we were prepared for the last ten days. What type of connection could we possibly have with the High Holy Days of a religion that we weren't even a part of yet? Turns out, quite a strong one, actually.

We attended the four required services. We maintained the fast (minus the desperate need for something to drink in the wee hours of the evening). We fought like mad.

Yes, the past 6-7 months have been difficult for us. Each of us have said and done things to each other that we aren't quite proud of. Resent begets more resent, etc. You know the type. Not worth breaking up over, but definitely a pain in the butt. The hazards of a cross-country move. I would honestly advise against it, if you can avoid it.

For some reason or another, we exploded at each other before the first Rosh Hashana service. We bickered for the majority of the next several days and yet, heading into Yom Kippur, it was as if we had a new understanding of each other. I can't describe the last 10 days. I don't know if it's all that time in a synagogue, or if it's just the spirit of this time of year, or even delusions brought on by starvation...But you really do get filled with this sense of tremendous guilt. You really do want to be a better person.

We know what needs to be done to get back on track. All roads have their potholes. You can't avoid all of them. You might lose a hubcap here and there. You just have to make sure your chassis can withstand the impact.

And, most important of all...try not to get your underwear in a twist.

No comments:

Post a Comment