An Easy Fast Doesn’t Provide Atonement
This happens to me…Every Year. In the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur I become more restless and unsettled.
There are levels of intolerance discussed within these pages. As a father I think about what sort of obligation I have towards my children and I ask myself if I am hitting the mark.
The Truck Driver
My son walks into my office today and tells me about how this truck driver intentionally blocked an aisle in the parking lot today and forced cars to drive the wrong way.
“Dad, he told mom and I to use common sense and go the other way.”
I asked him if the man was rude or polite. He says the guy was obnoxious.
“Dad, because he wouldn’t move mom and all these other cars had to drive the wrong way, we almost had an accident.”
His story sets me off and I ask for a description of the man. My son wants to know if he can go along for the ride and I say no. “Dad, I want to see what happens.”
I tell him not to worry and that I am going to take care of this. He looks at me and asks why I look so angry and I tell him that it the driver’s behavior is unacceptable and I am going to fix things.
As I walk out the door I hear multiple voices asking me to remain calm.I turn, smile and say don’t worry.
Five minutes later I reach the shopping center and the truck is still parked there. It is blocking an entire aisle so I am confident all I need to do is find the driver.
The Truck Driver
I see a man pushing a hand truck towards the juice store and I am certain he is the driver. I park my car, take pictures of the truck and head over to the store.
There is a juice store employee standing outside. I ask him if they normally receive deliveries at 4:15 and he says no. This one was supposed to be there at 7 Am.
“Why didn’t you tell him to move his truck to the far side of the lot so that he wouldn’t cause a traffic jam in the lot?” There is silence and then the employee shrugs his shoulders at me.
I explain why I am angry and mention that this store put my family at risk. It doesn’t matter who was driving. He is part of the problem. He says he is sorry and offers me a smoothie. I say no and then the driver reappears in front.”
“Did you tell a woman and a boy to use common sense?”
There is a hard edge in my voice and I feel my hands flexing. He tells me that he said use common sense but claims he was talking to himself.
“So you ignored your own advice, chose to block traffic and then almost created a six or seven car pile up.”
He takes a step backwards and apologizes, but I am not pacified.
“I am not a woman. I am not a 12 year-old boy. Tell me to use common sense. Ignore me. It is what you did before. Pretend your work is more important than the safety of others. Pretend that I am not the very angry father of the family you put at risk!”
I know I am on the verge of shouting. If he doesn’t apologize I am going to make the kind of scene he doesn’t want. But he does apologize again. He tells me the other driver was sick and that he is sorry.
“You should be thankful I wasn’t hear to see you put lives at risk. You should be thankful I am not any more upset than I am, but we aren’t through. I will submit a complaint. That is not me wagging my tongue. That is a promise. Next time show some consideration for others.
Night falls and I think about what happened. I don’t feel badly about what I said or that I filed a complaint. Safety comes first and there is no excuse for his parking his truck that way. I am certain he tried to take advantage of being a man who was faced with some children and angry moms.
Yet I can’t help but think of my own mistakes. I am not perfect. There are lots of things you can rap my knuckles for.
It won’t be long before Yom Kippur officially starts and my fast begins. It won’t be long before I have ample time to focus my attention again inwards and ask all the hard questions.
I read Torah every Yom Kippur for a little more than 25 years, but I haven’t read the last two and I miss it. Can’t decide why I miss it, but I know that I do. Not sure that it is important.
My gut tells me that the past several years have lead to this point and that we are on the verge of something really big. Good things are coming, or so I think. And so I take a moment to listen to the words of the songs below and to think.