16 September 2010

5771 Yom Kippur

I’ve been looking forward with relief and hope to Yom Kippur. This is the holiest day of the Jewish Year (aren’t all days holy?), but in the liturgy this day is called the Sabbath of Sabbaths (Shabbat Shabbaton); its occurrence trumps even the Sabbath. What is not permitted on the Sabbath is certainly not permitted on Yom Kippur, but some things permitted on the Sabbath are forbidden on Yom Kippur. And some things forbidden on the Sabbath are permitted on Yom Kippur. OnYom Kippur Jews refrain from eating and drinking, from all conjugal relations, from the wearing of leather or scents, and spend almost one full twenty-five hour period in shul immersed in prayer and study.

And so what I am anticipating is the enforced seclusion from the diurnal. For twenty five hours I am completely out of touch, and for the most part sit quietly and reflectively concerned about my positions in the world out there. Like a caterpillar, I weave about myself a cocoon, and within it spin, melt and coalesce, and when I am ready, I emerge (hopefully) reviewed and renewed.


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