Cold Showers

I get up every weekday at 5:56 a.m. when my alarm sounds and I stumble into the shower and turn on a stream of cold water for 60 seconds (70 seconds when I am feeling particularly hardy).

As I stood there this morning at the gloriously late hour of 6:20 a.m., I reflected that this cold shower was penance for my sins. I felt the water cascade and punish the very part of me so prone to wickedness and I felt yes, yes, this hurts so good, oy, this is shockingly painful, yes, this water is washing away my iniquities and I will emerge from this ordeal and re-enter the camp of Israel as a new man, a clean man, a clean pure man dedicated to G-d’s service and hooray, the long dark nightmare of my past is fully behind me now.

I’ve been enduring cold showers every morning for 18 months now but only today did I finally realize that I was doing penance, damn, why must I sound so Christian?

Oy, so close to Mexico and so far from G-d.

Hark, off in the distance, is that a ram’s horn I hear calling me to do teshuva or is it the blare of an illegal’s leafblower? Perhaps it is the sin of xenophobia for which I most need to repent? Only a black Reform rabbi can give me that absolution.

P.S. I just realized I’ve been running around all day in shorts inside-out. How do I atone for this fashion sin?

How do I turn the Ten Days of Awe into Ten Days of Awesome? Is G-d trying to bore us into submission with endless hours of piyutim?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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