09-23-07, 05:30 PM #1
A Jewish Holiday Worth Borrowing
Many Jewish "holidays" are true "holy days" in the original meaning of the word. They haven't been turned into orgies of beer and football like so many of ours have. I've been told that Yom Kippur ("Day of Atonement") is the holiest of all holy days. When it falls on the Sabbath, as it did yesterday, it becomes the holiest of Sabbaths.
Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of religion and even though I'm no fan of football either, I still prefer our holiday system. You can always find something else to do at a really good orgy. But this totally secular explanation of Yom Kippur, by a professional writer, was very thought-provoking.A DAY TO EDIT OUR LIVES
What Yom Kippur Means to Me
By Jim Sollisch
Washington Post, Saturday, September 22, 2007
When I was in my 20s, I wrote a novel and sent it to Doubleday. In my hubris, I skipped the editors and sent it directly to the president. She called five days later to tell me she liked it. An editor was assigned and suggested major revisions. I refused and got an agent, who sent it to other publishers.
The novel never made it into print.
I blew it, not because I thought that my novel was perfect but because I clung to the idea that its nature was unchangeable.
As I've gotten older, it's become easier to revise. Not just my writing but my life. And I finally understand the genius of Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday that asks us to acknowledge mistakes and make amends.
On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, each of us is asked to reread our manuscript of the past year and make revisions. We are tasked with asking such questions as "What could I have done differently?" and "What were the effects of my choices on others?" When I realized these were the questions novelists ask of their characters, it became easier to ask them of myself.
Writing is a process of making choices. Thousands of them. The act of writing an opening sentence is the result of more choices than I can count. Every word a character speaks or swallows is a choice. Every action or inaction, more choices. It's so easy to get them wrong. Or at least to see that another choice would have made more sense.
The best writers are usually the best revisers, and they learn to look forward to the process. Revision gives you a chance to get things right. You learn to ask other people for suggestions. Your narrator may be omniscient, but you realize you're not. Suddenly, the writing isn't yours alone anymore.
You see that it affects people differently from the way you intended.
On Yom Kippur, we are given the chance to understand that our lives are also not ours alone. Our actions and choices affect others, often in ways that we don't intend. If we cling to our vision of ourselves too fiercely, we blow the chance to gain insight.
Yom Kippur is not a holiday for the young. Judaism requires only adults to fast while they reflect. Nor is it a holiday for the weak of heart.
Revising yourself requires you to do something almost psychologically unnatural -- stop narrating the story of your life the way you always have.
The British novelist John Fowles said that people under 40 should not attempt to write novels because they lack the wisdom to do so. I think he may have meant that they lack the ability to revise. Living, like writing, requires no wisdom. Only revising does.
Jim Sollisch is a writer in Cleveland.
09-23-07, 05:32 PM #2
09-23-07, 06:35 PM #3
Better to be in Congress.
Each year the congressional leadership is responsible for setting Congress' legislative calendar, and this year that calendar will be tightly packed with the smorgasbord of issues Congress must tackle in the coming months. The legislative work Congress fails to finish, however, may be what makes headlines in 2006. This year boasts the fewest legislative days for Congress in twenty years, and this compressed election-year schedule is sure to make finishing appropriations bills before the end of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, a task lawmakers find difficult even with more ample time, next to impossible.
In 2006, the leadership has decided to devote 72 days, or a little over two months, to official legislative business. When Mondays and Fridays are included in this total (voting generally only takes place Tuesday through Thursday), this number rises to 125 days. Since 1985, Congress has allocated an average of 152 days per session (including Mondays and Fridays) to legislative work.
Featured high on the list of reasons for this year's limited schedule are the upcoming midterm election and the accompanying pressure on lawmakers to hit the campaign trail early and often. Yet, in previous election years, Congress allocated significantly more time to legislative work than it has for 2006. In 2002, for example, Congress was in session for 149 days, and in 2000 lawmakers clocked 141 days.
09-24-07, 12:05 AM #4
09-24-07, 05:07 PM #5
09-25-07, 02:20 AM #6
self taught myself hebrew, learned the scriptures..the whole shebang.
it is difficult, even actively discouraged by jewish temple leadership. this is because judaism isnt "religion lite". if you dont take spiritual development seriously, they will weed you out.
funny enough, its actually the natural born jews who usually neglect their religion.
09-25-07, 02:41 AM #7
Oh, ok, but weren't the chosen people of God supposed to belong to specific tribes?
I.e., God chose Israelites or whatever as their favourite sheep.
Is there a special ritual to enter the jew club?
09-25-07, 04:16 PM #8
09-25-07, 04:21 PM #9
09-25-07, 05:37 PM #10
09-25-07, 05:41 PM #11
jews originally thought of themselves as teachers, not rulers. this is what the "chosen people" phrase references. it implies a burden placed on the jews to teach the rest of the world, not rule it. zionists, nazis, and pretty much anyone that cant read the torah in hebrew misinterpret the phrase to be one of kingship, rather than scholastics. *shrug*
Is there a special ritual to enter the jew club?
09-25-07, 06:02 PM #12
I disagree with the basic sentiments of this holiday. If you aren't aware of what you are doing at the time, what's the point of second-guessing yourself later? That is not the way to enlightenment. There is nothing to atone for and nothing that can grant atonement.
09-26-07, 03:29 AM #13
youve basically said "there is no g-d" here. that is best for a different thread, when the discussion is about the merits of a particular holiday.
as for the beginning of your post, i can understand why you say it...but jews tend to disagree.
09-30-07, 10:17 PM #14
If you aren't aware of what you are doing at the time, what's the point of second-guessing yourself later?
10-27-07, 09:15 AM #15
For example, from David Allen's Getting Things Done - here from the notes on Minezone.org:
Six Level Model for Reviewing Your Own Work
- current actions
- current projects
- areas of responsibility
- 1-2 year goals
- 3-5 year vision
- big picture view
Or a discussion on why we resist the weekly review and plan and what we can do about it at a blog and its summary at Lifehack.org:
- Itís not on our calendar.
- We donít know how or we fear we may not do it right.
- We donít have a step-by-step plan for it.
- We arenít readyóand getting ready is too overwhelming.
- We feel that the weekly review is a ďhave toĒ instead of a ďwant toĒ.
- We havenít defined our outcome vision.
- We haveít defined our purpose and principles.
- We think it has to be perfect and complete.
- We donít see the benefit of it.
- We donít have time.
- We feel we donít have enough to review.
- We feel we have too much to review.
- We are too far behind or havenít done a review in several weeks.
- We have no accountability.
- We donít like the isolation.
- We find the weekly review boring.
- We fear we might get interrupted.
- We fear what we will discover.
- Weíre scared of what others will think about us.
- Itís hard.
02-05-08, 02:17 PM #16
02-05-08, 04:52 PM #17
Hebrew uses 32 letters, not thousands of ideograms. . . .. . . .and grammar is based on modifying the words, not the tone.Actually, I found Hebrew easier to learn than French. Fewer rules.
02-06-08, 07:24 AM #18
No, I never studied Chinese. Maybe some day I will have enough free time to study it (yeah, right!).
02-09-08, 04:53 AM #19
In this way, you can be more mindful and aware in the future - the two work hand in hand on a path towqrd enlightenment.
02-11-08, 04:02 AM #20
Talmud: Baba mezia, 114b
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