What is the Jewish fast day of Tisha B’Av? Check out its Wikipedia profile.
So, some friends of mine were having a bonfire at Dockweiler Beach last night.
I was ambivalent about going. My soul is so in love with the Torah that it is hard for me to leave the house. I get everything I need via my high-speed broadband connection.
So I put a message on Facebook asking for a ride. I figured if I could get a ride, then I’d go.
So a male friend messaged me and I arranged to go with him.
Then a cute girl messaged me, and I canceled on my buddy, and took a ride with her. A ride to paradise!
I love finding out what the young people are up to. They have such interesting mating rituals.
I love dating young women. They’re not as jaded and bitter and defensive as the hags. They look better and they smell better. I just love the dewy sheen of youth. I don’t care if it is her youth that I am after or my own. I just know that hot young girls make me feel good. That’s all I know and that’s all I need to know. I’m a simple man with simple needs.
Anyway, I forgot to bring a blanket or a towel or a jacket. I figured it was July 6, how cold could it be? Well, when the sun went down, it was bloody cold.
I’m a pretty rugged bloke from the land down under and you’ll have to wait a long time before you hear a complaint cross my lips, but I was feeling pretty bloody crook until the organizer asked me to give a dvar Torah on Tisha B’Av.
Man, I love to talk. The more people paying attention to me, the better. You give me a platform and I’m there to orate.
My dad is a preacher man. I grew up listening to him speak publicly and even though he had a PhD in Rhetoric, I always thought I could do better. All I need is an opportunity.
Well, here was my opportunity.
I stood up on the fire and looked down at everyone. That felt really good. I love to look down on other people.
And then I just started gabbing along these lines:
I grew up a Seventh-Day Adventist goy. We didn’t have fast days and holidays. We only had Christmas and Easter, which my family and my group didn’t observe because of their pagan origins. So we had nothing but the weekly Sabbath.
By contrast, the Jewish calendar is filled with holidays and feasts and rituals and fasts. It makes life more exciting.
I start every day with a cold shower. It’s very exciting. It’s a shock to the system, particularly those first ten seconds. But it’s cool because I know I’m conquering my toughest part of the day first thing. Everything after my cold shower will be easy compared to it.
The cold shower, it’s like rebooting my computer. I come out of it feeling alive and energized.
Judaism’s fast days such as Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur are similarly a shock to the system.
All of Judaism’s holidays have agricultural, historical and spiritual meaning.
We’re in the middle of the Three Weeks of mourning leading up to Tisha B’Av. Judaism mandates various restrictions now such as no partying, no musical instruments (aside from drums), no banging shiksas. Even though I find this difficult, I abide by this shock treatment to my soul.
On Sunday night, we begin the Nine Days of strict mourning leading up to Tisha B’Av.
You may find all these restrictions a pain and you may ignore them. But at least if you know what the restrictions are and why Jews have observed them for thousands of years, you can then enjoy the illicit thrill of ignoring them. I don’t know about you, but I get a thrill out of sin.
The cool thing of legal-based religion like Judaism is that there are numerous opportunities to sin. So if you learn the laws and the customs and the traditions and the history of your people, you can then shove off and do your own thing with a delicious thrill. But first you have to know the rules before you can enjoy breaking them.
I think religion should be a pier that we push ourselves off from. The more you know about your tradition and its rules, the stronger a pier it can be for you and the more of a shove you can get when you push off and launch your life.
So here’s to rules, to knowing the rules, and to breaking rules.