Bob Schwartz

Yom Kippur Lesser Hits

I see that a few of my older posts about the Days of Awe/High Holy Days are being read now. This is a gratifying, considering that when I read them myself, I am not all that happy with them (the writer’s curse).

It gave me the idea that maybe instead of writing something new about this Yom Kippur, which begins this evening, I would instead include links to some of the past posts.

For those who are Jewish and fasting, may you have an easy fast. For those who are not Jewish or not fasting, no worries. The opportunity to contemplate our lives is open every day to everyone, no matter who you are, no matter what you eat, or don’t.

Yom Kippur and Job

“Whether this is a day of reflection and fasting, reciting centuries-old prayers, or an ordinary day of work or study, managing others or being managed; whether you are Job beset by unexplained misfortune, or Job’s wife, ready to kill him if he doesn’t kill himself, or Job’s friends so quick with advice; whether you are being punished by God, Satan, or whatever other forces you believe are working against you; whether you are the smartest person in the room or not; this is what we can do, even if there is seemingly no comfort in it: Be awed. Be humble.”

Yom Kippur: A Serious Day for a Serious Man

“The movie closes with a note taken straight from the Book of Job. A tornado approaches. Will it be the voice of God out of the whirlwind? Or will it just be one more inexplicable disaster, one more serious touch of uncertainty? Who knows? Yom Kippur and every day, listen to Rabbi Marshak: Be a good girl or boy.”

Yom Kippur: Beyond the Self

“The tradition says that the Book of Life is open during the Ten Days of Awe. When the holy days end with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when the shofar sounds, the book closes and our lives will have been written for the next year. But the book is always open.”

Jonah, Yom Kippur, Iran and Irony

“Last week, Iranian psychotherapist Mohsen Amir-Aslani was hanged for, among other things, insulting the prophet Jonah.”

Why I Read the Qur’an This Yom Kippur

“You may believe in many respects besides religious—historical, social, cultural—that the Bible is one of the most important books in the world. You may also have to admit that in its impact, the Qur’an is its equal.”

No Mail No News

Alice - Drink Me

My day begins with no mail and no news.

How hard is that? Well, the devices surrounding me are begging me. Not unlike the bottle in Wonderland that implored Alice “Drink me,” these insist “Read me, watch me.”

This isn’t entirely new. Before digital (BD) the phone could ring first thing in the morning. You could wake up to TV news, which many still do.

But now, nothing is unknowable at any time, about the world in general or about your life in particular. All of it available the moment you wake.

If a flash flood is heading to my door, or a loved one needs me right now, of course I want to know it. But most things can wait a little while, while the big little world of first light finds its shape and way. If someone famous is dead, they will still be dead. If some politician has said something stupid, or improbably brilliant, there will be time for that. If a war is getting worse or better, I will bemoan the conflict or celebrate the prospect of peace. Just a tiny bit later.

Right now, the raw and unpolished jewel of the day begins.

HBKK. That’s the news that matters.