Archive for October 7th, 2011

Well it is Yom Kippur.  The first issue with this holiday is the name.  To the un-initiated it sounds like Yum Kippers! There is a lot wrong with those two words, ‘yum+Kipper’.  First off, in reference to the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur there is absolutely nothing ‘yum’ about it! Mostly because you have to fast for twenty five hours and I mean fast, no food, no water, nada, zip nothing.  Secondly a Kipper is absolutely disgusting. A kipper is a whole oily little herring which has been split from head to tail, gutted and then salted or pickled.  My theory on such foods is pretty basic.  When you have to pickle or salt to cover the taste of the original food to make it edible, then it only stands to reason that the food being covered is pretty much disgusting.  I’ll give you another example. 

Gefilte fish, which is another Jewish delight, what is it you may ask?  Well there is no fish that is called a gefilte, so don’t even waste your time at your local petshop looking for one.  It is a white fish that is poached minced and stuffed into the fish skin.  Yum Gefilte!  But there is a way to make this food palatable.  How? You may be asking.  Well I’ll tell you, it is a little secret weapon called Horse radish.  Wait!  Don’t go running out to buy some gefiltes and horseradish because it can’t be any over the counter horseradish.  No it must be old school grandma made horseradish, or more commonly known as the moonshine of horseradish.  When grandma makes horseradish it doesn’t clear the sinuses it reduces a liquid pulp.  When you open the jar it brings tears to your eyes. 

Let us imagine you are not Jewish sitting down to eat at your Jewish friends house. Gefilte fish is on the menu.  But the first thing that assaults you is the overwhelming strong smell of the reddish sauce that sits in the middle of the table, that is the horseradish.  It is always fun to watch the newbie’s in this situation.  They see all the Jews shoveling heaping table spoons of this toxic sauce onto the plates.  Now the hostess brings out the gefilte fish.  They look harmless, in fact they look just like dumplings, except for the disgusting looking goop that usually accompanies them.  With a little care you remove the goop and plop a gefilte or two onto your plate, after the first bite the need for the toxic paint remover otherwise known as horseradish makes a lot of sense.  It doesn’t matter that it is burning your sinuses, it doesn’t matter that you can hardly see through the tears.  It doesn’t matter that it is so strong that the horseradish is eating away at the pattern embedded into the plates.  All that matters is that you get enough horseradish on the gefilte fish so you can no longer taste the fish, in fact the goal now is to simply kill your taste buds.  It has taken me years to realize that I just don’t have to eat any of it in the first place.

So, what does all this have to do with Yom Kippur? Nothing.

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement for us Jews.  The day is supposed to be spent in synagogue, (Jewish church) in prayer.  You also don’t get to eat for 25 hours in a row.  Growing up there used to be Jews who would cheat and at least drink water.  But you are not supposed too.  What you are supposed to do is pray. You read your bible and you confess your sins and at the end of it all we trust that our sins have been absolved by god.

There is a benefit however aside from atonement of course and that is Leviticus 23:27 decrees that Yom Kuppur is a strict day of rest.  I like strict days of rest.  I decree that there should be more of them.  Unfortunately you cannot have a light without a dark to stick it in, because there are five other observances one must follow on this day of ‘rest’.

  1. No eating or drinking (already discussed above)
  2. No wearing of leather shoes, (like anyone can afford those anymore)
  3. No bathing or washing. ( Not a problem not going anywhere anyway, I’m resting).
  4. No anointing oneself with perfumes or lotions, (okay so it’s may get a little smelly)
  5. No Marital relations. (I choose to believe that means no fighting or arguing of any kind)

This day, especially this year Yom Kippur takes on an interesting twist, I was born on Yom Kippur.  That’s right on October 7th on Yom Kippur I was born.  The Jewish calendar does not change.  So most years Yom Kippur does not fall on my birthday, sometimes it’s off by a week or two, but this year, just as it did 46 years ago the two dates collide.

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