Sunday, September 16, 2012

Onwards and upwards to 5773

Tonight at sundown, the Jewish high holy days begin. If I finish working soon enough, I'll go down to the west steps of the Capitol to watch the sun set. I like to listen to John Coltrane on Rosh Hashona, too, usually after I get back to the chateau. He blows a very fine shofar, oh yeah.

When I used to have a car, I would drive around honking my horn which was not nearly as sonorous as listening to 'Trane, and annoyed other drivers as well as pedestrians. When I was married, I always asked my husband to play one of his saxophones, loud. I love the baritone saxophone, which is what he usually blew on Rosh Hashona.

The one tradition I strictly follow on this holy day is the eating of apples dipped in honey. I'm not completely out there, after all. In fact, I bet there are Jews who observe the holiday in much crazier ways than I do.

After tonight I will submerge myself in a contemplation of this past year, figure out if I need to offer apologies or clear up interpersonal tangles. This is very traditional. I'll be praying about my work for the coming year, looking clearly at all the mistakes I made in the past year so that when Yom Kippur arrives, I can let go of all of it, hence be open and clear as I move into 5773.

I love the high holy days. They are so Reya-esque! Thanks, God.

One thing I don't get about the Jewish new year is the timing. Why is early fall the beginning of a new year? The green world will soon die away, after which it will get dark and very cold. That feels like the end of the year, not the beginning. I like the Persian new year which begins at spring equinox. That makes sense to me, though winter solstice as a new year makes sense, too. I'm sure there must be some good reason for the timing, but I have not even the foggiest idea of what that is.

Of course, the timing of the Jewish new year is only one of many many many mysteries I will never understand. I'm good with that. I like mystery. I like knowing there are many things I'll never get no matter how hard I try. I find it liberating to know in my heart of hearts that this world, and the universe itself, is impossibly complex. I must try to understand, because that struggle makes me kinder, wiser and more compassionate, not to mention more humble! But to achieve understanding of the world? To even imagine such a thing is crazy, hey?

We humans think well of our minds, but really, all our high toned thinking can only take us a tiny fraction of the way into the beauty and terror of all there is. This, I think, is a blessing.

Happy Sunday and Shalom.


ellen abbott said...

this is a beautiful post Reya. I like the the jewish new year very much, not that I go out of my way to celebrate it. but the reflection of the 10 days of awe I think are so important and humbling. knowing you need to apologize for something and doing it let's us shrug off our burdens. likewise, forgiving and letting go of offenses against you by others.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yes, exactly why I llke it too.

Thanks, Ellen. xx