Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Just as mussaf was wrapping up, the heavens opened up and a hard rain fell on Skokie. After about twenty minutes, the heavenly waters seem to let up and the Jews who were stranded in the shul cautiously began to make their way home. A few minutes after the lull, there was another downpour, and for once I was glad that it takes my family forever to mobilize itself. We waited out the weather for another ten minutes and then proceded home, managing to keep dry except for a few drops from the trees on the streets. What fortuitous timing.

On the way back to mincha several hours later, I was lost in thought. Mostly I was thinking about a line from the first episode of "Six Feet Under", the only one I've seen, where a man berates his family - "We've forgotten how to grieve". It is considered inappropriate in our culture to show too much emotion. Few people break the decorum of a funeral to throw themselves on the grave, to weep uncontrollably, to really lose it. As I looked around me in shul that morning, I felt that we'd lost this ability in prayer as well.

If I'd really gotten into the spirit of atonement, if I'd beaten my chest with force, instead of a symbolic thump, if I'd truly wept in contrition, I'd be ostracized as a nutcase. Which I think is too bad...

So I was trying hard to get into the mood on my solitary walk back to shul. I started humming some made up melodies, plaintive, lachrymose, to get the feeling right. And just as I turned onto Crawford Avenue, a car swept past me and drenched me in cold rainwater. Woke me up right away! And snapped me out of my contemplative mood.

Don't know what to make of it, I guess. Ironic that though I avoided the rain in the morning, by evening I was wet. Karma.


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