Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

The Spirit of the Holiday

Posted by lchaimlover on September 16, 2007

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Now that we have embarked upon another high holiday season, I got to thinking about a few things. I realized how lucky we Jews are to be in the minority. As I woke up erev Rosh Hashana, there were no Rosh Hashana carols playing on the radio. Yet I felt the spirit of the chag upon me. It felt like it was a holiday. I turned on my television to check out the news and there was no parade for Tishrei. But as I ate a piece of honey cake for breakfast, I felt as I might have years ago on Christmas Eve, excited. The Holy Days were here. I cooked up a storm, invited guests over to dinner, and chatted away about the holiday and rabbi’s drash as I have seen Protestants do on Easter. Yet I felt much more in tune with the spirit of the holiday. It’s true, there are no movies about Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur (though for Sukkot check out Ushpizin) and there are no lights strung up from every street corner.

In short, Jews have not sucked the very life blood out of what they know to be a special season. While honey might be in short supply at Safeway, one can still maintain a calm demeanor as they shop for carrots and pomegranates. Despite the 3 day chag, which admittedly did feel long at times, I felt refreshed and revitalized. I spent my days at shul and at new friends’ houses enjoying wonderful meals. No one has cheapened my holiday by hawking out symbols of it for battery commercials.

And while we might gripe and complain about getting time off for work or missing professors quizzes for holidays most non-Jews have ever heard of (honestly try explaining Sukkot) the most secular among us flocks to shul or at least to a friend’s holiday meal in order to capture that feeling. So as I walked to my car this morning, feeling the usual dread as I count down to Yom Kippur, I still felt energized from Rosh Hashana. Most likely because there weren’t any old broken shofars filling up the garbage bins.

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