I haven't fasted for Yom Kippur since I was a teenager -- as we know, I tried last year but was prevented by circumstances beyond my control. I actually found fasting less horrifying than I'd imagined I would, mostly because I used my superpower and slept for thirteen hours out of the twenty-four. If I were an insider Jew and belonged to a congregation, and had actually attended services for the Day of Atonement, it might have been a different story. As it was, the thirty minutes before sunset was harder than the preceding twenty-three and a half hours. You know what's pretty good? Coffee.
I'd like to thank everyone for sending their good wishes to me and Bela. The fish I bought on erev Rosh Hashana 2009 didn't make it through the High Holidays. Last week I buried him where I'll be able to see his grave from my desk. I wonder if anyone noticed the grown person digging a hole with a spoon by the base of a tree.
On Rosh Hashana it is written,
On Yom Kippur it is sealed;
How many shall pass on, how many shall come to be,
who shall live and who shall die,
who shall see ripe age and who shall not,
who shall perish by fire and who by water,
who by sword and who by beast.
It's funny to feel grief for a fish because what am I grieving, really? His beauty, and the pleasure he gave me, and his tiny personality, because he did have one. I assigned him more of one than he had organically, of course, but maybe there's some of that every time you love something outside yourself. And I was accustomed to him: that's part of love too. How dare you disappear when I had gotten used to you? How could you be so inconsiderate?
There must be, in some language, a word for the relief you feel when a loved one dies after prolonged suffering. But I don't know of one. You'd think German would have one all lined up, but if it exists the one German person I know didn't know it. Anyone else?