In a few short hours Kol Nidre will begin, Yom Kippur will start and judgment day will begin. That sounds a bit dramatic and in some ways it is. I don’t have it in me right now to give a proper introduction or background. So if you would like to learn more specific details about Yom Kippur you can go here.
Yom Kippur is a hard day for me. It is hard for a whole host of reasons. Somewhere deep inside my head are the memories of a little boy being taught about who would be inscribed in the book of life and who would not. I can almost hear the voice. It is a sing song, who shall live and who shall die. If you take that kind of thing seriously it is hard not to feel the weight of the day.
In recent years I have become quite conscious of when people die. By that I mean those who die right before the chagim really strike me. I guess that I kind of visualize the year as a race, a combination of sprint and marathon. Of course not everyone finishes the race, but to me the deaths of those who fall just before the finish line (Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur) seem harder. I can’t help but wonder why they weren’t given a little more time, just enough to watch the clock turn and start the new year.
This past year had some tough moments. A good friend had a complete breakdown. They went from being normal (whatever that means) into something else. Coherent thought disappeared and reappeared.
A dear friend of the family suddenly dropped dead. One moment he was there and the next he was gone. There wasn’t any miracle, no last minute reprieve from the governor. He was just gone.
A few more marriages ended. They rode the horse as long as they could and that was it. In one case I think that they actually shot the horse and then in their anger and pain they took it out on each other.
Earlier this week they found another family friend lying on the floor of her office. A massive heart attack hit her. The estimate that she was down for about five minutes. Right now she lies in the ICU and it is unclear whether she will recover and if she does, what kind of shape will she be in.
There are other stories that I could tell. They probably aren’t that different from anyone else. We’re here for a brief moment in time, the flame burns for only so long.
In happier news a friend told me that he has discovered his besheret. We had a very interesting discussion that I may turn into a separate post. The gist of it is that we debated what impact life experience has upon falling in love. Part of the question is whether there is a better time to fall in love, or should I say a better age.
Maturity brings some advantages. The opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you need to be happy can be quite useful. But as I said, that is a discussion for a later day.
All I know is that it was fun to hear the joy in his voice. As he described her you could feel his delight and his unmitigated joy. I wish them nothing but continued joy and love.
Tomorrow I’ll continue my tradition of layning Torah. I have the usual apprehension and angst about it, but if I didn’t do it I’d be disappointed. It is a honor and a privilege and something that I find adds meaning to the chag.
Just a few more comments about judgment. If I accept the concept/reality of judgment I have acknowledge that my record for the past year is what it is. I will be judged upon that. If I merit a reward or punishment I suppose that this is what will happen.
So I wish you all a G’mar Chatima Tova. I’ll see you on the other side.