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The One Who Erases Our Misdeeds

"I will erase your sins like a cloud
and your misdeeds like a mist."

This was actually a pretty tough fast. Fasting is a dodgy activity for me these days in any case, because of my diabetes. In Judaism, if you can't fast without endangering your health, you shouldn't fast. I did a lot of reading on the subject and followed some of the recommendations: I didn't take my oral medication in the morning (because it helps my body break down sugars, and I wasn't taking in any), and when I took other medications, I took them with a whole cup of water instead of a sip (because apparently having your fluid balance go out of whack is bad for your blood sugar too).

I was still wrecked and wobbly after the morning service, so I ate half a protein bar and drank some water when I got into the car to drive home (no synagogue in the neighborhood). I took a nap, which is what I usually do between services on Yom Kippur. I had nightmares and woke up feeling terrible. I had the other half of the protein bar, and the Mr. (not Jewish) came to keep me company for a while. Then I got up, took an ibuprofen (my head was killing me), and instead of going back to services, read through all the rest of the services in the machzor (prayerbook) on my own in the living room at home. I managed to wrap it up pretty much exactly at sunset — go me.

Part of the reason I was so wrecked was probably emotional. The congregational president, in his traditional address after the Torah reading, said that Rabbi Serrota is stepping down as rabbi, although he will remain a member of the shul. He has been working actively on behalf of various interfaith and human rights issues and causes for ages, and he has now taken the position of Executive Director of the InterFaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. He's the main reason that I have been attending High Holy Days observances with this congregation. When we were at That Other Synagogue, he presided over The Young Lady's bat mitzvah, and he used to live next door to my parents (may they rest in peace).

This is usually a time of year when I get all angst-laden about my lack of congregational involvement anyway. I am now feeling very emo and conflicted. Do I pay for a membership in Shirat HaNefesh and try to involve myself with people who, although very nice and fighting the good fight for social justice, regard geeky people with the usual polite confusion displayed by most nice people who are not fannish? Or do I continue to punch the clock for the High Holy Days and attend family events like Passover with my sister and her family, or my friend Michael and his family? Their synagogue is less liberal, more traditional, and is more than twice as far away as the church that Shirat HaNefesh is borrowing for services. (Like many new congregations, they do not have their own building. Even their Torah is borrowed, although they are getting their own soon.)

This entry is also posted at Dreamwidth. Comment at either location, as you prefer.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 5th, 2014 02:58 am (UTC)
Knowing you, Cho, I have very little doubt that given enough time (especially to get over the shock off the news about your beloved Rabbi, and the emotionally-filled High Holy Days), and sufficient prayer/contemplation, your heart will tell you exactly what he correct choice for you is in this situation. From what I've seen in the years I've been privileged to know you, your thoughtful ability to choose the best possible path when faced with difficult choices is one of your greatest strengths, one which I admire you for a great deal.

I'm sorry your fast was uncomfortable (it would be difficult for me as well) but it truly sounds like you made an admirable effort to adhere and participate as much as you possibly could. Yasher koach, my friend.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


cho-vatar - sun & buns

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