Monday, October 10, 2011

The Gates Are Not Quite Closed

If I was Ziggy and this was ZJOD, I would be writing, "No intro today, folks," but I'm not, so I guess this is an official entry.  It would seem that ol' Spartacus here was felled by a head cold. I don't mean I had sniffilis with delicate little girl coughs, I mean I sounded like I was at the old guy coughing convention and my head was so stuffed with gunk it was coming out my eyeballs. I thought I'd developed sudden onset cataracts. I even stayed home from work as a concession to my boss who couldn't stand the hacking and the coughing coming from my corner. I think my teammates were equally relieved when it was learned I would finally stay home. 

Despite my failure to produce two pounds of my famous creamed herring for the break-fast, Cousin Laurie brought me groceries, drugs, and a potload of excellent chicken soup complete with light, fluffy matza balls. But as good as it was, and it was well beyond good, it was too late. 

Shofar made at labor camp Skarzysko-Kamienna in Poland in 1943
By Friday afternoon, erev Yom Kippur, it was pretty clear I wasn't going to make it to Kol Nidre that night and by Kol Nidre time I knew I wasn't going to make it to shul the next morning. No Kol Nidre, no Yizkor, no Ne'ila. I slept through it all. I couldn't tell who was more shocked: me or the kids. I mean, the junior son actually offered to pick me up TWICE and I had to turn him down! I had visions of me collapsing in the middle of shul like one of the old ladies with smelling salts and lacy handkerchiefs from my childhood... and that was not a comforting thought at all. And if you want to know the really ugly part, I couldn't even stay awake long enough to daven at home. I just slept. Coughed a lot, and slept some more. At least I fasted. I'm not sure it was intentional, but food was definitely not part of this equation.

But here's the part that surprises me the most: I don't have that clean-slate-after-Yom-Kippur feeling I usually have. I think not being in shul made a huge difference. I was apart from the kahal...the community... and even if it wasn't by choice, I still felt a pang of guilt about not standing with everyone, for everyone; for not being at Yizkor and Ne'ila. It's as if my old year has yet to end and I'm not quite ready to move forward. It is very much a dangle. 

But wait! Sukkot is almost here! There's hope

And that's the thing about running on Jewish time. It's never exact. It's a sundown, a star up, a wait...there's an exception, and an almost not quite. There's always room for debate and even then there's a wiggle. I love that. I love that there's not one simple answer and that it's a matter of structure and growth all at the same time. Just like a tree has a complex root system that keeps growing down while the trunk and branches keep growing up and out, we are the same way. Our roots are deep and our canopy is lofty and wide.

The mystic sages (including Reb Avishay of Midwood) assure me I still have a little time, that the gates remain open a smidge until Hoshanna Rabba, the 7th day of Chol ha'Moed Sukkot, when the decrees made on Yom Kippur are sealed for the last time. If you thought swinging a kappora chicken over your head was fun, you haven't lived until you've beaten willow branches on the floor.

So for Sukkot, I guess I'm going to have to spend a little private time catching up and I'll even promise to march around the shul with a lulav and etrog (even if my father insists this is a pagan ritual that should be banned.)

I will do what I can to close out the old books while I realign my chi for the new year.  And maybe I'll even rotate the tires. We'll see.

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Asking sacred guests to your sukkah this year?
Think outside the box - invite someone you don't know

1 comment:

  1. Refuah shlayma!
    Loved the post ( as usual!)