These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

[PCJE Dvar Torah] On Yom Kippur, the shul is full.

Posted on September 11, 2013 by The Director of Digital Media

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946848_10151636394133826_1763718289_n (2)On Yom Kippur, the shul is full.
The normally sparse rows are packed, white plastic pool chairs spill out and crowd the aisles.
Why do people come.
The people that never come, why do they come now, on this day.

As a child, I wasn’t even sure why I came. No holiday made me question my own motives more. We had always gone to shul, every shabbat, I prayed daily in school, but –

Yom Kippur seemed like a farce.

Everyone bows. Everyone in white. Everyone says the same words, mumbled through,
interspersed with groans and gossip.
Can you really say sorry if you intend to repeat your wrongs.

As a child, I would look down from the balcony, look at the men, swaying. Everyone in their
white kittels, both fresh and morbid.
Worn under the chuppa, beginning;
wrapped in as we return to dust, our end.

Now, which will it be; the books sealed, judgment set, measures weighed and counted.
And me, you, all of us,
in our white clothes, grumbling, gossiping,
leaning against back walls and hoping to get a seat, even one of those white plastic pool chairs.

On Yom Kippur, the shul is full.
Tell me why you come.