09 October 2008

Random Yom Tov thoughts

Spending three days in shul while everyone else is davening, provides lot's of time for observation. Here's a few




  • Reading material. Al Knight mentioned bringing the God delusion in shul. Members of my shul had it's own version of that - Praying with Fire, actually three copies in my field of vision! And one copy of a sefer on Yom Kippur. Pretty lame. I was considering being really bold and bringing some Schiffman to shul. But of course, I chicken out.

  • There's the Avreich of three years really shuckling away like crazy. Sherlock Holmes (that's me!) suspects babies, or lack of them, are on his mind. Sure enough his father bids way more than a man of his means should for the appropriate Segula. I wish them much Hatzlocha.

  • I realize there's a huge gap in the Artscroll Machzor. We discussed this already.

  • In the perpetually undercooled shul, a brand new Kolel yungerman is visibly uncomfortable sweating away under a heavy Tallis with a braided Attarah. He's probably cursing his Kalleh's chassidish ancestry. But hey, we all work for our living. So what if it's a little hot. I imagine it's factored into the Kest.

  • Unexpectedly I get a Kibbud out of line with the usual. OMG, what is Hashem telling me. Is it that "Yes, there's still hope for you mein kind?". I quickly come to my senses. I now think "Uh Oh. Hashem is rewarding me with Kavod in this world to be Meabed me in Olam Habah." Or something like that. As I walk up, I supress a smirk but I think "What a pity, this could really have been the highlight of some believers day. For me it's just fodder for my blog". At the end, the real truth dawns on me, maybe I'm the only one in shul up to date with his dues. Or maybe it's just the luck of the draw.

  • My eyes set on a kid. An At risk Kid. He has made an amazing turnaround. He looks almost, but not quite exactly like other bochrim. In his demeanor, there's still a touch of definance. But I see they're breaking him, turning into just another clone. Yet, I'm sure his parents are relieved. And so am I. This kid was going downhill real steep and real fast. I wouldn't have been surprized to hear that he O.D'd. or something. There is still plenty of good in Orthodoxy. (It was probably some frumkeit issues to begin with, but I'll chalk this up to an OJ success.)

  • Everyone in Shul is really going strong. It's Duchening time. I look around and see I've got the scenery all to myself. Everyone's immersed under their Tallis. Except of course the Yeshiva boys. I see something I've never seen before. Some of the boys have maneuvered their hats downward to completely cover their eyes. But then I see it. There's one Bochur who's looking around. Our eyes meet and he quickly averts his gaze and looks back at his Machzor. He doesn't look up again.
  • I try to calculate the odds of one of my readership being someone in my shul. Miniscule, I think. Maybe one in ten thousand? Even so, stranger things have happened, so I resolve to make sure my Random Yom thoughts are misleading enough.
  • I fantasize. I imagine that I come out of my self imposed Galus and tell people what's on my mind. How liberating. Of course it's totally out of the question. But then I realize a bitter truth. As liberating as it might be, even if I would not be ostracized, it would actually have a terrible side effect. Coming out, assuming I don't get kicked out of shul, while letting me get away coming to shul three hours late on Yom Kippur, will just serve to drive a bigger wedge between the community and I. It will serve to engage me in skepticsm on a full time basis. All my conversation would be mired in skepticism while what I really want is to be a full fledged member of my community. In my mind, I take a birds-eye view of the place. It's gorgeous. The serenity, the Ruach, the group, group, I can't even think of the word. It's as if the indviduals have become a single entity. A profound sadness envelops me as I realize, once again, how different I've become.

  • Gam Zeh Yaavor

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