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?