bnewman: (damselfly)
[personal profile] bnewman
Sometimes I dream about luggage. Usually, there is too much of it. I'll be moving, or leaving a convention, or — more often than not — changing trains. Usually I wake up before I manage to schlep, or even zip up, all the luggage. I don't know what it means. Maybe I'm trying to tell myself that I have too much stuff (probably true), or too much "stuff" in some inner sense (probably also true).

Which brings me to the High Holy Days.

Officially, the old year ends when the new one begins, at the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. In my head, though, it makes more sense to think of the old year ending ten days later, at the close of Yom Kippur. The ten Days of Awe derive their special quality from belonging to both years. It's as if the new year has pulled up alongside the old one at the station, and we have ten days in which to transfer our luggage — and to decide what to leave behind.

This also suggests a (much less creepy) reading of that most haunting line from the High Holy Day Liturgy: "On Rosh Hashanah it is written, on Yom Kippur it is sealed." Our fate for the year is written at the beginning of the year, because everything that might happen already exists in potential, and sealed, not ten days later, but a year and ten days later, because at that point it has already happened. Yom Kippur thus represents a last chance to change the meaning of the year that has gone by, to "put a good seal on it".

Wishing everyone a good, sweet new year, with just enough luggage.
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July 2017


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