Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Days of Awe

There is a great deal of old imagry for the days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur that are hard for many modern people to swallow. The Days of Awe are the time when God inscribes people in the book of life; that is, if you have lived a proper life (according to Halakah) then you will live another year. If not....

Yom Kippur then is the great equalizer. On that day, one cannot eat or drink for 25 hours. One can't shower, shave, have sex. In essence, one makes oneself into a corpse, or one of the quasi-dead. Once more, this is for the benefit of a punishing God. There is a hint of old magic in this custom. "Don't count me in that book, you angry old god in the sky. I am dead already."

I appreciate the magesty and importance of the Days of Awe. But I often have problems with the nuts and bolts of the thing.

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