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.