Sunday, September 27, 2009

Can I say, "Happy Holiday?"

At sundown, it will mark the beginning of Yom Kippur for our neighboring Jewish families.

What is Yom (rhymes with Tom) Kippur (rhymes with hip-oar), all about?
Simple: atonement.

Simple? Since when is atonement, simple?
It's not. Matter of fact Yom Kippur is valued as a very serious Holiday.

Its when all the practicing Jews are asked to look back on the year they've just had, and seek forgiveness. Remember my recent post regarding Rosh Hashanah? If you were following this faith, your calender year started on Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur is on the 10Th day of the New Year.

From the moment Rosh Hashanah arrives, you begin the journey of reflecting on all the things you've done wrong the past year. Yeap, every.single.wrongdoing. Plus to balance the negative out, because no matter, everything is a yin and yang, you also start to plan out how you can be better in this new year.

You seek G-d's forgiveness and you also ask Him to help you do a better job of being a good person for the coming year. Atone: "to make up for having done something wrong."

If you're an adult that is not pregnant, or in poor health, you would also fast. Fasting begins at sundown on the eve before Yom Kippur and carries on until sundown of the evening at the end of Yom Kippur. Fasting is viewed as a way to show G-d how sorry you are for all your wrong actions. That you're serious about becoming a better person. You ask G-d for forgiveness and you pray that you are inscribed in His Good Book.

It's a serious Holiday, one that I've learned to respect to the best of my abilities as the wife of a Jewish man. It's a moment in the Jewish population where they look towards tomorrow to be a better person. In a way, it reminds me of Easter Eve until sundown the day of Easter.

What's the point of all of this? I'm getting there, I think.

As you all know, I was raised a Christian. I went to a private school growing up until 8Th grade. I celebrated Easter, Christmas, Lent, pick a Christian occasion, and you bet, I celebrated it. In school we were taught about the Jewish faith, mainly due to Passover, but naturally unless you are of that faith, or married to it, it's difficult to truly understand what it's all about. Of course, if you're all about Coexistence, and/or awesome at retaining research and information, and/or are accepting of other faiths, chances are you'll have a better understanding of numerous faiths no matter what you believe in.

Here's the thing that bugs me, and I know I'm not the only one that feels this way.

We can't say "Merry Christmas," and many other greetings that represent many different types of faiths because of how close it comes to "rights." So instead we all have been trained to say, "HAPPY HOLIDAY!"

On Easter: "Hoppy Bunny!" "Bunny Love Is The Best."
On Christmas: "Happy Santa!" "Happy Holiday!"
On Hanukkah: "Happy Festival of Lights" "Happy Holiday!"
On Passover, On Dussehra, On this religious holiday, on that religious holiday..
all of it has boiled down to one word:

Yet the word, Holiday is all about contractions. Remember 4th grade language class? Or perhaps, reading class, or English class? IE: won't=will not. Or, can't =can not.

The word, "Holiday," is an actual contraction of two words: "Holy and Day." Now I'm not going to do all the work for you, but when you have a chance, look up the definition of Holy. You'll understand where I'm going with this. When we say, "HOLIDAY," we are still referencing something sacred, something special. We're still making a reference to a religious being.

Look it up, you'll see.

So, if we can say, "HOLY Day," why can't we say "Christmas," or, "Passover," or, or, or....

Just think about that for awhile, and meanwhile, whether you practice this Holy of Holiest Holidays or not, (YOM KIPPUR!!), remember that it's okay to wish your Jewish friend, coworker, family member, neighbor; "a peaceful fasting." You don't need to say, "Happy Holiday." Just wish them a healthy fasting with the next year being filled with good deeds and positive growths.

Just don't call them after sundown tonight or through tomorrow, because they're not "supposed to," talk on the phone. But who am I to judge?

g'mar hatima tova! May You Be Inscribed In The Book of Life!


Cheryl said...

You did a great job of explaining this holy day. I'm sitting here, full from my dinner. I think in all my years I've only fasted once. Emily always wants to but forgets. I learned things here that I didn't know. Thanks Elizabeth! Will you be with extended family to break fast?


Bri's family is all down south, so no, we won't. It will be us and a pile of bagels, lox, and if I'm lucky, lemon cookies! :)

Have a wonderful Monday!! You already have a day off!! :)

KathyA said...

I like the fact that Jews seek forgiveness from those they've harmed first, and then from God. Also, wishing someone a "Happy Yom Kippur" is a lot like saying, "Happy Good Friday" to a Christian; it's just not done.
Good! You got rid of the other system of commenting!

austere said...

Thank you for sharing.
Such a solemn day....