A couple of weeks ago we celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, by eating lots and lots of delicious food made by my mother. We then spent several days (how shall I put this delicately?) eliminating the aforementioned delicious food made by my mother. It happens every year. It’s so good going in, and not so good coming out. You’ve heard the phrase “Let My People Go”? Well, this is where it originated.
It’s not my Mom’s fault. She’s one of the best cooks you’ll ever find. But Jewish Food, such as brisket, kugel, and chicken soup eaten all at one meal in massive quantities is inherently hard to digest and when you only eat it a few times a year, like the few times a year we go to Synagogue, it can catch your stomach off guard. Talk about thunder in the mountains. Yes, Jews were slaves many thousands of years ago, but some of us are still slaves. A few times a year. To the toilet. We wandered, too. Now we wander around the house moaning, “Why, God, why?”
A week later we celebrated the erev Yom Kippur in the way our ancestors for generation after generation have: my daughter’s friend and I spent four hours unbraiding the corn rows a different friend had spent four hours putting into her hair just a few days earlier. It was long, painful, and arduous, and we fasted during those four hours, so it was just like all the other Yom Kippur’s of days gone by. We had to remove the corn rows because they were uncomfortable and making her head itchy.
Speaking of itchy and uncomfortable, the next day I was looking forward to not eating my mother’s famous herring and onions in sour cream. I don’t like the look of the shiny silver fish and onions slathered in thick sour cream in all of its lactose laden glory. Other than that, I was looking forward to seeing my family and enjoying a meal together (easy-to-digest deli trays!) after we had all (ok, some of us) fasted for the day, thinking about sins we had perpetrated over the past year. We (well, some of us) went to Synagogue and asked for forgiveness for those sins, which some of us did, and some of us didn’t have to atone for, and basically wiped the slate clean for the year feeling refreshed and ready to go back out and sin some more.
A friend of mine used to sin a lot (party like it’s 5760— 1999 in the Gregorian calendar) thinking all of his sins would be absolved, until he read in The Gates of Prayer during a service at Synagogue something to the effect of “Do not commit a lot of sins the day before Yom Kippur in hopes that all will be forgiven. It doesn’t work that way, Chump”. The color drained from his face.
A few days later, two out of three of my dogs got Jewish Food Poisoning, too, due to the fact that someone (ok, I) gave them leftovers. “How could you possibly know that,” you may ask? The trail of, well, you can guess what I had been finding in little piles around my house, led me to believe I could trust the confidence I have in my ability to follow a scent as well as any dog. Plus, they had been wandering around the house moaning, “Why, Dog, Why?”
Until Passover, my family has no big Jewish holiday meals to look forward to. Passover is in the spring when the trees begin to bud, the weather warms up, and the circle of life and Jewish Food Poisoning begins again. Until then, we can look forward to the bitter cold days of winter, cars that won’t start, and slippery roads to travel, but we will rejoice in all that snow and ice because it will be a nice refreshing hiatus from the Jewish Food Poisoning we won’t have to endure for a few more months.