We don’t care to admit it, but we Jews are a judgmental crowd. We inherited this trait from the big man upstairs, who during our high holy holidays, judges our actions of the past year and decides if he wants to put us in the book of life. If you’re like me, you forget about God’s judgment days until Rosh Hashanah comes around each September. And as the New Year begins, you have 10 days to really make it count: remember to call the aunties, recycle, do as many mitzvahs as you can… And by the time Yom Kippur rolls around, just in case, we fast for a day to really show we care. God deliberates, and if you did well, mazel tov – you get to live another year.
Me? I went to Three Needs directly from Rosh Hashanah services. Not a great start. As my Jewish digestive system fought off the Pabst Blue Ribbon the next day, I felt God’s disapproving tsk tsk tsk from above. This was not an unfamiliar feeling, which leads me to believe that I may not be making it to the year 5785. That is, unless I do some series repenting during the holidays. So, please allow me to confess and reflect on my sins from the past year. And if you are my Rabbi, stop reading here.
Let’s start by ruminating on my minor offenses from this year so far. I got tattoos, used G-d’s name in vain, and was gay. My shoulders were exposed in public!?! I worked almost every Shabbat at a BBQ restaurant full of pork. I ate said pork every shift. Kanye appeared on my workout playlists (but I am pretty sure he forgave us). And as the Hebrew I learned from Sunday school exited my brain, I bragged about my 382 day German duolingo streak. I smoked a lot of weed, and regrettably, hotboxed a car in the parking lot of a synagogue. Not my best moment, and with shame, I must say it does get worse.
All Jews know that the most vulnerable place for our people is a family member’s bar/bat/b’nai mitzvah. At least for my own bat mitzvah, I was scared enough to meticulously prepare. But in my 20s? I’m not trying to pop a squat at my desk and memorize Torah verses. This was true even with the looming threat of my assigned Torah reading at my own brother’s bar mitzvah. And when I pulled up to the bimah in front of my entire congregation to sing from the HOLY scrolls, I knew about 20% of my assigned verse. I’ll stop beating around the burning bush- I straight up improvised Hebrew-sounding words and sang it into the microphone of a crowded synagogue. Nothing screams “I’m going to hell!” more than a judgmental side eye from your Rabbi in front of an open Torah. And we don’t even believe in an afterlife.To my surprise, our Rabbi got a kick out of my fake Hebrew freestyle, but God? I bullied him in his own house…
My wrongdoings culminated months later at my little cousin’s bat mitzvah. This time, I got to share a Hebrew part with my brother. Our section was right after the Mourner’s Kaddish- the SILENT prayers for the sick, dying, and also the dead. This was the exact moment that my dear brother informed me that he found a pencil and replaced our names in the Rabbi’s notes before the service began. I found this funny, maybe even too funny, because oppressive silence does something crazy to my nerves. The two of us could not. stop. laughing. It was inappropriate to say the least, but ultimately, we did inspire some smiles to soften the mood.
Thanks for letting me air this out, Water Tower, and I hope my sins can be forgiven. I know confession is more of a catholic thing, but Fleabag is an inspiring tale. Moral of the story: Jews deserve redemption and also Andrew Scott.