life in and around NYC is insane

Friday, October 3, 2014

On Rosh Hashanah it is written. On Yom Kippur it is sealed.

Yom Kippur. The Day of Atonement. A day of reflection, to ask the Almighty to forgive our sins, to seek to become better Jews, better human beings. We fast and pray. We deny ourselves most earthly pleasures.

I generally walk to and from the synagogue on the High Holy Days. It’s not out of religious conviction. Parking near the synagogue on the High Holy days is crazy. Unless you arrive very early, there’s a good chance you could be parking as far as a quarter of a mile away from the building. I live less than half a mile from the synagogue, so it didn’t make sense to fight the crowds for a parking spot when I could just as easily walk.

And it’s a pleasant walk, down a hilly, tree-lined street. I do some of my best thinking on the walk home from services. And I kind of need the exercise, after sitting in the sanctuary for over two hours.

This year, it rained on Rosh Hashanah, and I wound up driving to services. I really missed the walk.

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for rain… I am so hoping the forecasters are wrong.
Interesting bit of information I picked up from the Israeli news. The juxtaposition of two holidays….

Eid al-Adha begins tomorrow night. As the Jewish Holy Day comes to an end, the Muslim feast begins.

And both involve a story from Genesis.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Abraham is told by the Almighty to sacrifice his son Isaac. At the last minute, he is stopped from doing so, and miraculously a ram is provided to sacrifice instead. This is one of the seminal events of the Torah, so important that the story is read in synagogue on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.
On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, we read the story of Abraham’s wife Sarah, and how she compelled Abraham to banish is concubine Hagar and her son Ishmael.

The Quran tells the same story, but does not mention the name of the child to be sacrificed. In Islamic tradition, it is Ishmael, the son of Abraham’s t wife Hagar, who is designated to be sacrificed.

Isaac became the Patriarch of the Jewish people. Ishmael became the ancestor of the Ishmaelites. The Ishmaelites are believed to be the ancestors of the Arab people, and Islamic tradition is that Ishmael was the forefather of Muhammad.

Interesting, how similar we are, and yet how different.

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