Even though I am an atheist/agnostic, my family is Jewish and so I take part in all the Jewish holidays. I do this mostly to make my mother happy, but there’s something nice about customs and traditions as a way to bond with my family too. Anyway, Yom Kippur is the most important Jewish holiday. That’s right, it’s not Hannukah. Hannukah’s actually not a big holiday at all…it’s kind of like the flag day of Judaism, but its importance has been seemingly inflated in the United States by the fact that it happens to fall around Christmas.
Back to Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is a holiday about asking forgiveness of those who you have wronged. People fast (no eating or drinking) for about 25 hours. I really don’t like Yom Kippur. Only Jewish people would think that suffering constitutes a holiday… Actually, Muslims fast for Ramadan, and Buddhists fast at many different times of the year… Fine, there are a lot of groups of people who like to suffer. Everyone secretly likes suffering. That explains the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray. Humans are weird.
Anyway, though I had a rough start, this Yom Kippur was strangely pleasant for me. Instead of getting a horrible headache, as I usually do, I just felt strangely energetic. I felt that wonderful feeling that nothing can go wrong and that everything is beautiful. I felt hungry and thirsty, but more than anything I felt alive. The kind of alive that one feels when one thinks one is going to die but go on to live another day. I could feel myself shake as I stood on bambi legs and I could really feel each breath fill my lungs as I took the time to appreciate the cold and clamy feeling of my hands.
I just felt compelled to create and do and be. It’s the kind of manic feeling that makes life feel beautiful. yes, feel beautiful… like the aesthetic quality of beauty has become a gentle embrace from the universe.
I worked on my book today with that feeling. I worked out some of the plot holes that had been bugging me and I created another plot hole to solve. The way I write, I play out various scenarios in my mind. My characters experiment around in the world I’ve created for them until they do something that I like. Then I write that down. So, in a way, I escape to the world that I write. I hadn’t been writing for a while because I’ve been so worried about finding a job and finding a way to be able to go to graduate school, travel, and help people. Writing has taken a back seat. I forgot how much I love to write. I’m still growing as a writer, but I love my story and my characters. It’s the kind of story that I would want to read and the kind of characters that I would want to read about. The only way to become a better writer is to write.
Every Yom Kippur I feel so greatful for food and water and my family. Food tastes much better when you go without it for a day. Water slides down your throat in a way that makes your whole body sing. I think about all the people who feel that hunger and that thirst everyday but ten times worse. Yom Kippur enhances my desire to help people to not feel that way anymore. Yom Kippur makes me realize what is important. Any surely I will forget sometimes, because that’s what people do. But every year I have the reminder of Yom Kippur to keep me on track. And for that reason, as much as I dread Yom Kippur every year, I secretly love Yom Kippur.
... But I’m still happy that it’s over. 22 months ago