Officially, This was my second Yom Kippur. It was my first with the attempt to follow all the rules strictly. Since Friday, I spent all my extra Shabbat time reading up on the Holiday, I’m sure I retained a lot of information, but due to the content of the books I was reading, I tended to fall asleep.. A lot.
Before Yom Kippur drifted into Israel, I made a quick stop in Jerusalem to buy yet another book for the holiday, along with thoughts to go to the Kotel (wailing wall). It’s not hard for the Ginrod to always attempt to climb that spiritual ladder and despite the opinions of many, I do find some solace in talking to a wall of limestone. P Bonez and I also had some item exchanging to do in the name of our breakup.
In the spirit of our apparently laid back breakup, we decided to run my Jewish errands together and found ourselves at the shuk (market) as the last people squeezing themselves in the metal door with the smell of fowl and feces. Kapparah in Hebrew is ” means of atonement”, a vicarious animal sacrifice on the day previous to Yom Kippur.
The chicken man hurriedly handed P Bonez his cock by the legs and my hen by her wings. Bonez nervously recited Psalm 107:17-20 and Job 33: 23-24 as we failingly attempted to swing our birds over our heads. “Can you please read faster??” I urged. “Sooz, I’m not used to reading this text in Hebrew!!” he whispered back. We finish the prayers with: This be my substitute, my vicarious offering, my atonement. This cock (or hen) shall meet death, but I shall find a long and pleasant life of peace! As our birds began to calm down, we walked over to the slaughterer and to hand him our birds. “Siamti L’ayom (I’m finished for the day)” says the butcher in his dirty whites. “uh, what are we supposed to do with our chickens then!?! They have our sins in them!!” we exclaim!! Actually, P Bonez says that and I just stand their dumbfoundly, and my hen is pretty dumbfounded as well.
I must inject that although this practice became popular with the Haredi Jews in Eastern Europe, it is not condoned by all of the Jewish Community. As for me, it was simply an interesting experience. It can be argued either way. I’ve learned that everything is what you take from it, meaning doesn’t come naturally to our day to day lives. It is our job to inject romance into the world. Romance doesn’t happen until we put our fingertips on it and draw it close to us. Romance seems too far away from my fingertips right now.
Never in my life have I dedicated so much effort into grasping and ingesting a religious holiday. I read so much, the thoughts in my noggin’ were swimming to make sense of who I’ve become in the last year… I’ve never spent so much time in a religious building, let alone a Synagogue before, by my own free will. I came to many conclusions with all my thinking. My dreams were insane, so much of them- as if my subconscious let loose and flooded the rest of my brain with all my fears and worries and hopes and anything else it could place in them. My last dream after Yom Kippur was of me flying. I was swimming through the air and floating above the ground without touching it. I haven’t had a flying dream since before the deaths. I usually am invigorated after such a dream, but I don’t know what they mean anymore.
I look forward to this next year overflowing with meaning. I’m just curious where I’ll find it.
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