Thursday, September 20, 2007

Whale Watching

On Yom Kippur we read the book of Yonah, the prophet who tried to get out of his celestial 'mission impossible' to travel to Ninveh, an enemy of Israel, to warn the locals to repent so that God wouldn't destroy them. By trying to hide from God he got a 3 day whale of a ride and had to go anyhow. Adding insult to injury, they actually did repent (at least for awhile) and so he had to deal with that, too, along with a lesson in God's mercy to all humankind.

It's obvious why we read this (allegorical?) tale on our own Day of Repentance, coming to a synagogue near you this Shabbat.

It's less obvious but becomes clearer with time (read: age) that there is no hiding from God and it's best to acknowledge Him, even, or maybe especially, when we'd rather He wasn't watching and/or listening.

It's just flat out strange that the name Yonah has been appearing in our local media all week. You see, the day after Rosh Hashana 8 Israelis were killed in a plane crash on the Thai island of Phuket. The entire week has been devoted to the tragedy and the attempts to identify their badly burned bodies. In addition to the sorrow of 8 young lives ended, there was tremendous poignancy regarding 2 honeymooning couples, all friends, who died together. Coverage of their families focused on, yes, Kfar Yonah, a small and little known community where 3 of the 4 grew up and still lived.

What I used to see as coincidences I increasingly interpret as signs. What they mean, though, often eludes me, although since I love to talk to people I get a lot of interesting ideas back when I share my thoughts. I don't know what's right (I'm not young enough to know everything anymore) but lfe is certainly a whole lot more meaningful.

Off to scarf some food, since it's considered as big a mitzva to eat on the day before YK as it is to fast on YK itself. (Ya gotta love this religion).

A meaningful fast to all. May our sins be forgiven and forgotten, and may all of mankind merit the mercy of our Maker for the coming year.

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