Wednesday, October 12, 2005

9 Tishri 5766/12 October 2005: `Erev Yom Kippur/National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day/Farmer's Day


Consumer notice: Recently I found out that the tekheleth (blue dye used in sisiyyoth) I was using was made from cuttlefish ink. This is not a problem if one is a Radziner Hasidh. However, since I am not a Radziner Hasidh, I follow the majority, archaeologically validated view that tekheleth is supposed to be produced by Murex snails. This necessitated me having to order the correct tekheleth, and it came yesterday. I spent about two hours last night tying sisiyyoth on a talith qatan, and I hope to do the same for a talith gadhol today. The moral of the story: Ask in advance which mollusk your tekheleth comes from before you buy it.

Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. I’d like to take this opportunity to note a truly bizarre inconsistency we have in the Jewish community. Many Jews who are not observant will go to synagogue on Ro’sh hashShanah and Yom Kippur, which is good. What is not good is that they usually drive to do so. This is a problem since it is Biblically prohibited to light a fire on Shabbath or the Biblical festivals (Exodus 35:3), and turning on anything with an internal combustion engine (which works by burning fuel) at such times is thus Biblically prohibited. Any claims that going to synagogue is more important are fatally flawed, since public prayer is not Biblically required. Since Ro’sh hashShanah and Yom Kippur are all about atonement, it is monstrously hypocritical to deliberately drive on Ro’sh hashShanah or Yom Kippur (a Biblical prohibition) in order to pray for forgiveness in synagogue (a Rabbinical obligation, if it qualifies as an obligation at all). Much better that people pray for forgiveness at home instead. Or walk; one may consider the effort involved in walking a penitential act, though if it will result in one needing to rehydrate on Yom Kippur (also a Biblical prohibition), it is still better one stays home.

Note: According to my reasoning above, it is much better that people pray at home rather than drive to synagogue on Shabbath, too.

Have an easy fast, and may you be sealed in the book of life for a good year.

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