Ugh. I feel guilty even writing this.
Because… holidays are the holiest time of the year. And if I’m glad that they’re over, does that mean…
Does that mean I’m, like…
But, if we’re being honest here… I am glad.
I’m glad the Jewish holiday season is done. I’m relieved to be entering a month that is known as ‘bitter’ because there are no celebratory days.
It’s not that I don’t like holidays. I do. I love them.
The food and drink and the feeling of community and camaraderie and the dancing and the prayer and the total immersion into something otherworldly.
So many days in a row.
I love the glory of Rosh Hashanah. The concept of starting new and fresh. The idea that we are reestablishing our complicated, beautiful, whirlwind romantic relationship with G-d, ourselves, others. The contemplation of our past year. The expectation for our future one.
I love the Divinity of Yom Kippur. When everyone fasts and wears white because we’re now at the level of angels who don’t need food nor have any stains of character. When we are ushered, clean, into G-d’s chambers. Like a renewal of vows.
I love the joy of Sukkot. When we sit in these huts that represent G-d’s protection and revelation and subject ourselves to the vulnerability that being ‘protected’ by leaves necessitates.
I love the insanity of Simchat Torah. The dancing and the explosion of joy and seeing normally composed people throwing their hands in the air with abandon. And when finally, finally, we start reading a weekly Torah portion that I find really entertaining.
And the food.
(G-d. The food).
But, with all that being said, as much as I love the first month of the year, this honeymoon phase of religious bliss, I love when it’s over.
Because it’s ridiculously tiring.
Trying to be that perfect.
Pretending to be that perfect.
Because although there is that spark in me and you that is unfathomably, unquestionably, unchangeably pure and white and holy…
There’s a whole lot of my life and physical being that’s not.
And after a bit, I wonder if I’m being disingenuous.
Because in my normal life, I don’t stand in synagogue all day. I am not an angelic being who doesn’t need food. I am not that girl dressed in white, pure of thought deed, and speech. I am not forever freshly showered and makeuped.
No. The rest of the year, I am not a High Holiday Jew.
I spend my time involved in school and work and the gym and wasting time on social media.
I eat. Frequently. All the things.
I struggle to focus when I pray. I struggle to pray at all.
I am dirty. And sweaty. And just trying to do the best that I can.
And I never wear white. Because that’s just not me.
And, I’m pretty sure it is not only I who is different after the holidays:
The rest of the year, G-d is not a High Holiday G-d.
He lets us go.
He stops seducing us into a relationship with Him by mandatory hours-long synagogue attendance, and hours of prayer, and the resounding, all encompassing blast of the shofar.
The rest of the year, He speaks more softly.
It seems like G-d is no longer interested in our being overwhelmed with Divinity. In our perfect.
Because G-d gets bored with angels.
I suppose… I suppose He likes the chase.
I suppose we all do.
Because the exciting part of a fairy tale is not the Happily Ever After. The Happily Ever After is when the story ends. When the book closes.
The part that matters? The part that makes a story worth listening to? That makes a story worth telling to children time and time again?
It’s in the search.
It’s in the Tumultuous. The Complex.
And I’m not sure whether, after the holidays, we are thrown back into the world down below or whether we look around at the blinding light and decide to depart from the mountain top.
Because we want something deeper.
You know what? I am happy the holidays are over.
Because now that I’ve been inspired, I’m ready to build something that’s mine. That feels like me.
That feels more intimate, because it is of my own creation.
Because we are physical, fallible, psychotic, and filled with doubt.
And we are franticly searching. And therein lies our unique ability.
In the Search.
In the discovery of the Divine outside of synagogue.
In the discovery of the Divine in small moments.
In the discovery that we can be the Divine in small moments.
In the daily grind.
We are departing a month of Religiously Constructed Holidays and entering a year during which the holy comes from us.
Because while it’s true that not every day is a Holiday, every day is a Holy Day.
We may be more spiritually enlightened during these holidays. But… perhaps the days during which we struggle to find light and then do?
Perhaps those are the holiest days of all.
Because on those days, we do not respond to Divinity…
We radiate it.