Religion is a funny one. People are always arguing about it, and they probably always will. I consider myself to be fairly religious, but we all view other people using our own judgements, when are just being hypocritical. For example, I’m Jewish, and do not eat pork, so I judge the Jews that do. Yet, I do eat cheese burgers when I shouldn’t.
As a Jewish person, you’re most likely in shul on Yom Kippur, which is considered to the be the day that you pray. The holiest of days. You are to fast for about 25 hours, with no food or drink, and spend most of it in shul, atoning for your sins – It’s in these 8 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur where G-d decides who lives, and who dies. I always end up thinking a lot during this day. I reflect upon a lot. It’s a good time for thinking too, but the only problem is, I can’t pull out my phone, or a piece of paper, and start making notes like I’d normally like to do. But this is also positive, it’s a time to let everything go and concentrate on the religious aspects that we so often forget about.
I love religion and faith, and I repeatedly tell myself to try be more religious, to go to shul more, to keep learning, but life doesn’t get simpler, and I’m always getting busier and busier. But again today, as I’ve done every year, I try tell myself to go more, to be more active – After all, it is my heritage.
The Rabbi gave a little talk before he started the service yesterday evening about letting fear go before it takes over. It always seems so easy when it comes from the über faithful. I hope to just try a little bit more this year.
Religion affects people differently, and some people just don’t get it. Also, I will not try push my religion onto you, so I would appreciate it if you did the same for me. There is no right or wrong answer. I have my belief that my religion is what it is, and I am happy with that. There is no point arguing about it. My point is to have faith, to keep it close. It’s not whether it’s really there or not, we have no way to prove it, but it’s the belief that something is, and it’s that belief that sometimes helps us with issues that we come across.
This year was the first year I wasn’t in shul for two days on Rosh Hashana. The fact that I was best-man at a wedding was kind of a big thing for me. So all I got was first day morning service, and it was a bit disappointing. But listening to the Shofar blowing at the end of this years Yom Kippur was pretty amazing. It’s kind of hard to explain, but the way you feel at that point is weightless, with no worries. The fact that I hadn’t eaten or drank anything for 25 hours meant nothing. The Rabbi’s talk at the beginning of Yom Kippur must have hit a spot. All worries and fear dissipated. It’s a feeling you can only get here.
I spent this Yom Kippur in Hermanus again, in a small community, which makes the whole family feeling more apparent. That is exactly what Judaism is so often about. For me, religion means a lot. It signifies my heritage and my person. It brings our family together, and just holds that little bit more. It’s not a religion you can explain with ease, nor is it the most simple, but it makes me, and others, happy. You don’t need to force it to have faith, but just that little bit might make a difference…
Shana Tova, I hope the fast was good, and I expect that the following year brings only hope and happiness.