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Day 521

"This is what 78 looks like"

Readers will know that I'm a bona-fide atheist, which also makes me the perfect candidate for a religion where a deity is entirely optional, which we all know is Judaism.

A long time member of my particular sect was giving today's "drash," which is a commentary on the weekly Torah portion (the "New Testament" isn't part of our canon, if you didn't know) and he was commenting on one of the injunctions, which was to respect people with grey hair, aka, the elderly.

He pointed out that in a few weeks he would be turning 78... I was stunned, because I had always assumed he was in his late 60's, so finding out he was, in fact, 10 years older was rather surprising.

At the same time, it also made me sad, because I realized that there is a slim chance that I will make it to this age; my mother and my sisters died before they reached 55, and my father made it to 76. My chances don't look to good to make it beyond him.

And even though I'm turning 60 in the fall, I don't see think I'm going to be particularly spry at 78. Or even 68.


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  • George Smith George Smith
    11 months ago

    That's interesting, Rav... that God is optional for Jews.... is that really so? Also, please could you tell me what the Jewish belief is about what happens after death.

    I'm sorry you think you won't live to grow old. I hope you surprise yourself. You're perfectly fine and fit now. Don't let the thought determine what happens.

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  • RavDiablo RavDiablo
    11 months ago

    George, there's an old saying about Judaism: "The Jews believe in, at most, one god..." It's a riff on the fact Judaism is both a culture and a religion, so many Jews leave out the religious part and focus on the cultural traditions, which is why the deity is "optional." As what comes after death, it really depends on what kind of Jew you ask; there's no central Jewish authority, so there's no real agreement.

    As for growing old, I just have to accept that it's pretty likely I'll only get partway there, so in the meantime, I'll just have to live each day like I'm counting the last ones. It's okay: I still take pleasure, and my life is full of beauty and meaning, but I just can't take it for granted....

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  • George Smith George Smith
    11 months ago

    Thanks for that, Rav.... I think that's increasingly what is happening with religion in the West. People are taking what they want from it and leaving other bits out, even the god bit. But in the East it appears that if a person is religious it is a much more literal and dogmatic belief. Just a thought. And that's curious about the hereafter ... what do you think?

    I think that's a good attitude to life - none of us should take it for granted.

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