what can i say that won’t sound predictably cynical?
for one thing, i can’t complain, because ironically, my caregiver status and mom’s sickness give me the perfect excuse for not having to be subjected to tedious, excruciatingly meaningless hours of mindless ritual repetition of archaic prayers that half the congregants don’t even get, or else they’re too busy checking out each other’s latest fashions, or schmoozing. but see how i framed that statement in positivity! i’m not complaining, because i’m obviously not there! that was my token attempt, now back to our program.
yom kippur is a disturbing day in the jewish calendar, there’s no getting away from it. it’s the one day when jews officially refrain from all the materialism, overindulgence, and business as usual, to compensate for all the religious atonement they never have to bother with throughout the year. they stand and sit repeatedly for hours on end, going through the motions of repentance, trying hard not to think about FOOD, but you know that’s what they’re obsessing over! the average jew in this country has to be well enough off just to afford to be jewish, and you know fasting isn’t one of their favorite pastimes, let alone something they’re forced by poverty to endure on a daily basis, like much of the world.
meanwhile, the real meaning of the day gets lost, or diluted, or circumlocuted. no one wants to actually confront their guilt or failings toward each other and make it right, before g-d will forgive them as a community or individual. i know i don’t! that’s the aspect of YK that’s more disturbing to me than all the hypocrisy, tedium, ostentatiousness, etc. i’m already admittedly an outlier from religion, but as a person with a whole history of regrettable behavior and attitudes toward others, all that weight comes home to roost on top of me especially on this day. a lifetime of yom kippur repentance in dust and ashes could not absolve me. where would i even begin? so instead, i just sit here and type, and wait for another day to be over.
i suppose this sounds like a confession in itself. but i never pretend to be the good or altruistic person some folks might think i am. also, i suck at apologizing or asking for forgiveness, or forgiving others. (in case you hadn’t noticed.) my childhood environment was not very conducive to learning those skills, yet here i am as a much older, supposedly maturer, adult, still blaming and resenting the past. it’s the most difficult thing in the world for me to grow up and do the right thing for the right reasons. maybe it’s humiliating. or maybe i know too well that i’ll just fall back into the same bad attitudes, so why pretend? the remorse is genuinely there, but the character is lacking.
i’m not even sure why i’m saying all this to the indifferent void. it’s an odd feeling, particularly on this day of the year, to be such a disconnected outsider in the land of ultra-religious practitioners that i myself was once a part of. i burned out on religion long ago, so i have no interest in going backwards. still, indoctrination dies a slow death, so i still feel like a fugitive from justice on this portentous day. only myself left here to come clean to.
on the other hand, i didn’t think about food once while writing this! ok, well, maybe for a second i did. and the day is half over. we’ll see how that goes, round about beer break time.