Passing over Passover

April 9, 2009 at 12:32 pm Leave a comment

Last night was the first night of Passover, and the first time I didn’t observe it in years. Yeah, the old Jewish guilt made a opening act appearance, but the ephemeral guilt I felt was based more on feeling guilty for not feeling guilty.
Instead, I went to a video field production class at this public access joint downtown. When I signed up for it, I forgot it met on Passover. When I remembered, I experienced some wistfulness-no matzo ball soup, no gefilte fish, no brisket, no kugel, no ancient ritual of gratitude, no ‘hey, they tried to off us, but we showed them-we’re still here.” chosen people cockiness.
But for the first time in my life, I considered the options, made a decision, stuck with it, and moved on. What the hell was that about? I feel so empty without the agony of rumination. So boring without the spice of neurosis.
I decided instead to have some quasi-meaningful ritual of my own. So I spent a few minutes being thankful for things in my life, and lit a Yahrzeit Candle. A Yahrzeit candle is a memorial candle that’s supposed to be lit on the anniversary of the person’s death according to the Hebrew calender, and during Jewish holidays. (Notice I’m blowing off the hyperlinks today. While I understand they can be illuminating to non-Jews during this post, they can be irritating.)
So I lit a candle and thought of everyone in my life and the life of everyone I know who died. It started off pretty specifically with the deaths of those closest to me, and then became less meaningful, almost lame, when I got to the names of people I didn’t even know, i.e. “My friend Beth’s friend who died.”
Then I realized, “screw this” since I don’t think dead people you don’t even know care if you’re lighting a memorial candle for them, even when it’s done in the name of one of the white trash babies Nancy Grace gets an orgasm talking about.
So I dedicated the candle to the one person I lost this year who meant more to me than anyone else on my list-my dog Arby.

So here’s to you, Arby. I miss you and I’m taking good care of the Arby tree that I nourished with your ashes. I know you loved my brisket, so I hope you forgive me for not making any this year. Maybe this whole thing was about how Passover wouldn’t be the same without you.

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