This evening begins the Days of Awe, or the ten days between the start of Rosh Hashanah and the end of Yom Kippur. For an interesting take on it, take a look at The Lid’s explanation.
I am not particularly religious, identifying myself as a cultural Jew who is woefully lax in his religious observance. But there is something about the next ten days that resonates with me…something about the juxtaposition of such a joyful event — Rosh Hashanah is the New Year, and a party! — with the solemness of Yom Kippur — the Day of Atonement. Or perhaps it is just the simple, inescapable fact that in the next ten days we have to recognize that we have sinned, recognize that we are not perfect, that we have hurt, intentionally or unintentionally, our fellow man.
In that respect Judaism is pretty easy. God forgives us our transgressions against him.
It’s automatic [see addendum below]. But the damage we have done to others must be recognized and atoned for. That’s the tough part.
And this joy of a new year is tempered by the obvious and painful realization that just like most other years, the Jewish people are threatened by those who hate us. But this year is worse. Yes, Iran hates Judaism, Jews, Israel, Zionism….But the abstraction of Iranian anti-Semitism is being reinforced by the very real support that Iran has received for its clear and unmistakable desire to destroy Israel and the Jews…from the president of the United States of America!
That Barack Obama hates Israel is obvious. He also hates America and the West, and has done a remarkably thorough job of assisting in the West’s suicide. But to hand Iran the means to build nuclear weapons is something I simply did not expect. Open the gates to unchecked immigration? Sure. Be passive in the face of Islamic terrorism and expansionism? Sure. But to create the framework for the murder of possibly millions of people from some base and narcissistic desire to punish the West and Israel for its sins is beyond the pale, and comprehension.
Can God forgive the sin of genocide? After all, that is a sin against God…the destruction of that which he created. I do not know his mind, but it would be an impressive thing.
I for one am waiting for Obama to ask forgiveness for his many transgressions against America, Israel and the rest of our allies, and the millions of innocents who are now at risk of a second Holocaust, or a third world war.
[My friend speedster1 has gently corrected this error (see his comment). I was lazy with language. Atonement is not automatic.]