Monday, October 10, 2011

Thoughts on a Yom Kippur Experience

So I did it.  I made it.  I passed through the fire.

I fasted, I went to shul.  For a 25 hour period, I was a god fearing Jew.  Here on some thoughts on the experience:

 - Non Leather Shoes.  Dammit.  I had forgotten that one.  I didn't bring anything to Tova and ended up borrowing her younger sister's old crappy canvas sneakers.  Bad times.  Poor start to the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.

 - Coffee headaches.  At about 3:00 I got mine. 

"I have a terrible headache," I tell Tova.

"Yea, cause you drink so much coffee.  You have caffeine withdrawl.  You're supposed to stop drinking it a few days before a fast."

"Why didn't you tell me this?" I ask indignantly.  After all, Tova is the closest thing to a spiritual guide I have.

"What am I, your personal assistant?  You think your coffee addiction is ANYWHERE on my list of priorities?  I have cancer.  Take an Advil suppository."

Um, Ew.

Anyway, note to self - next year, stop drinking coffee 2 days in advance.

Fasting.  Fasting sucks.  It makes you hungry.  And I'm not so big to begin with so it was really tough.  By the end my head was pounding (see above), I was totally dehydrated and weak.  Can't wait for next year!!

Family.  It must be nice to celebrate holidays with people you love.  Up 'till now, I haven't really ever done that mostly because I've had no feelings for the holidays and also because my family situation makes for rough times at home. 

Eating a meal before and after the fast with Tova was nice, but her sitch with her mom isn't all that much beter than mine is. 

(On that note, I'll be spending the first days of Succos at David's house with his family. To be honest, I'm super excited.  They've been incredibly nice to me and I look forward to the warmth.)

Thank you Artscroll.  Couldn't have done it without you.  I once watched a move called The Full Monty.  It takes place in Ireland.  The point - It took me half an hour until I was able to understand a word anyone was saying.  I had to ease myself into their nutty Irish accents. 

I had the same experience with the services.  I had no idea what was going on half the time, so I spent it reading the Artscroll forwards and commentary.  It's pretty interesting stuff.  (I especially liked the Unesane Tokef story.)

Oh and if you haven't seen it, you should watch the Full Monty.  It's really funny.

The Upshot.  I ended up going to shul Friday night, YK morning and back for the end after the break (plus a little delay).  I found the davening to be long, confusing and occassionally nice.  I understand why fasting helps put a person in the right frame of mind.  I saw people who seemd very sincere pray very ferverently.  I saw a girl crying as she beat her chest. 

I wanted to cry too

Not for my "sins", but for my lost childhood.  For the fact that while perhaps I can be "forgiven" my my part in its destruction, I can never get it back.  And while I've long ago come to accept that, sometimes it still hurts.

So instead of praying and crying, I asked.

I asked for Tova's recovery.

I asked that David and I stay good.

I asked that my family should all be ok.  That my brother should find a girl and settle down before he decides living at home is too much bloody fun.

That my two younger sibings be spared my mother's emotional abuse.

I asked that I should continue to grow, both emotionally and as a person.  That I should find what I'm looking for, even if I don't quite know what that is yet.

After it was over, I ate, went home, packed a bag and went to the City.  David and I stayed up 'till about 3:00 am, talking.  We played a game where we switched "sides"; me defending the position that God is actively participating in our lives and him taking the "Cymbaline" position.

After, as I was about to go to sleep, he told me that there's no way I don't belive in an active god.  That my spirited defense was too convincing to be anything other than heartfelt.

I drifted off to sleep still unclear of what it all meant.

1 comment:

  1. :) Good for you. And maybe there is a G-d after all.