The Day of Atonement
A poem without a stopping point by this blogger.
Is it the day that atones,
Or those who observe it?
Is fasting a penance,
(just two lousy meals; might be good for you),
Or a reminder of how easy we have it?
Should we feel guilty when it's over,
Do we need to spend this day in a stale synagogue,
Or can we atone by ourselves?
Can we honor God
and deal treacherously with our fellow man and woman?
In most religions, God rewards an ethical life with redemption. In Judaism the reward for a good deed, a mitzvah, is the mitzvah itself. It sort of works. I still k'vell (feel good) about every decent thing I've ever done, just as I suffer for all my bullshit.
Can God sit it out while I strive with my conscience?
He usually does.
White Crucifixion by Marc Chagall, 1938. He painted this in France, Vichy to be exact, before he knew the danger he was in from the Nazis. By surrounding a crucified Jesus, clad in a prayer shawl loin cloth, with images of Jewish persecution, his intention seems to have been to find the universality of hope and redemption that arises from suffering.
Do such sentiments inspire you, or make you feel very old?
Click on the picture for a closer look.