A couple of weeks ago was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. A time when we members of the tribe ask for forgiveness for our sins – sins against family, sins against friends, sins against God.
I believe in friends, I believe in family, as for God….not so much. I believe that something is out there, I’m just not sure what or who or where it is. The funny thing about it is despite my lack of belief in the ultimate being, I spend the entire day of Yom Kippur in temple, arriving before 10 when the morning services start and leaving after the final blow of the shofar about 8 hours later. Yom Kippur should actually end at sunset (or about 6:45 on that particular day) but as a reform Jew, Yom Kippur ends early to build in travel time for break fast. And yes, I have now sinned for saying that.
Most people leave temple after the morning service and return later that afternoon for Yizkhor, the memorial service where you honor those immediate relatives who have passed. This is only my 2nd year that I have attended Yizkhor as a mourner. I went in years past but mostly to support Linda and her mom.
My day in temple is spent learning, reflecting, listening to the sounds of the day, checking out the fall fashions and laughing at folks trying to hide the fact that they are on their cell phones (including a member our clergy’s wife playing Tetris – OY!). Most of the time, I don’t even participate in the responsive readings that go on. I have found that my faith and my spirituality does not come from a prayer book.
When I go to temple, a time when my most people reaffirm their belief in God, is the time that I actually find myself questioning God’s existence. Mostly because I don’t really think about religion or God all that much but when you’re in temple, that’s what you think about. I have often stated that “religion is the root of all evil” and, in today’s world, I think that is more true than ever.
Don’t get me wrong. I consider myself 100% Jewish, raised my kids that way, go to temple more than 2 times a year (which is more than I can say for about 90% of our temple members…and I’ve sinned again). For me, I don’t equate my Jewishness with a belief in God. Sounds a bit crazy but I think faith and spirituality are what you make of it, not necessarily an organized belief system in a higher power.
During the Jewish High Holidays which just ended, most Jews are supposed to reaffirm their belief in “Adonai,” the one true God. As for me, I reaffirmed my belief that if there is one true God, he put me here to question everything about him or her, about religion, about everything that is going on the world, and to try and make one other person question it as well. And I believe that if there really was a God, he’d answer my prayers that my blog would have thousands (let’s make that millions) of readers and I’d get rich just from telling folks my opinions.