Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Religion 101

Neither Shall They Learn War
On a wall by the United Nations buildings, New York City.

No, I'm not trying to preach to anyone although the internet is full of those who do. I'm just talking about myself. Tonight we performed a Jewish ritual that involves casting bread upon a body of water, usual a river, but here on the south side of Chicago, we use Lake Michigan. The symbolism is that of casting one's sins away. Whether one believes in sin in the religious sense or merely in the sense of sitting down and taking stock of one's mistakes, the experience of reviewing one's weaknesses can be a useful one.
I'm not going to tell you what sins of my own come to mind. It is too personal. I can tell you it is humbling. While I believe that in the main I am a good person, the number of my errors is overwhelming. Perhaps my gravest mistake of the year is not to have significantly changed my ways from last year.
Today's ritual is a lovely one. We joined a handful of people, a few friends and a number of strangers and threw our stale bread in the lake. The seagulls truly appreciated the number of our sins! I hope a couple of fish were able to consume the remains.


Lest you think I'm always serious, here is my favorite quote from Spamalot, also seen in New York in August. This is from a conversation between King Arthur and his faithful squire, Patsy.
"You never told me you were Jewish," exclaims the king.
"It’s not the kind of thing you tell a heavily-armed Christian," replies Patsy.
For those of you who find this in bad taste, bear in mind that this is Monty Python writing, after all.


Kathe said...

We so have to see Spamalot.

Ms. Poshlust said...

shaná tová!!!!!

Rayne said...

Patsy does have a point.
My mother's mother was Jewish. To spite her family my grandmother raised her children to be Catholic, but that's beside the point. Anyway, I can remember one of my great aunts doing this with me. Explaining about casting away the bad thoughts and the sins. I was so little, I don't remember much, and I do confess to throwing a few extra pieces of bread for the birds, but I remember thinking what an awful lot of sins every one had.