These pre-holiday weeks are always the most stressful. No family, no friends, no community, my gosh my life sounds horrible. It’s not that bad.
I’ve done my best to prepare, though, begging and pleading and conniving and manipulating and asking nicely to be invited to this, that, or the other holiday dinner.
I never really would have thought that finding Judaism in Israel would be so hard, but it is. I suppose that’s the nature of secularism and my particular social world.
I’ve done everything I can think of to prepare, or prepare to prepare, or think about preparing. Most stores around here will be open since this is Haifa and I live in the Arab neighborhood, so when I decide tomorrow morning that I do in fact want to make challahs for the dinner we are cooking tomorrow night, I will (inshallah) be able to find yeast and flour and all those other things I’ll need. Raisins. Apples. Honey.
I got two “new” books at the tiny hole-in-the-wall used bookstore. I finished Foucault’s Pendulum, and realized I would need more reading material for the holiday, since I intend to have a holiday. I am now working on Dr. Zhivago. The Three Musketeers is (are?) on deck. Now all I need to find is a siddur so I can do Tashlich at some point.
How strange, that the one thing I always make sure to do is Tashlich. Two years ago I did it in the Jordan River. (I suppose I should have linked that back to this blog rather than that one, since I uploaded all my old blog posts here….perhaps I will fix it.) I also think I sin more right before the holidays, since I know I will soon be absolved. I now ask forgiveness from all those against whom I may have sinned in the past year.
Given that I don’t really believe in God, or certainly no one else’s idea of God, why do I believe in Tashlich? Karma? The will of the conscience or conscious or something? Why does throwing bread in water make you a better person? It really shouldn’t, since you’re throwing bread in water, which is somewhere bread doesn’t really belong. Meditative, perhaps? Spirituality is a mystery.