Kol NIdre: All Vows, and a Chance at Transcendence
It's Kol Nidre, "all vows," the beginning of Yom Kippur, which many of you may know as the Jewish holiday of atonement.
It's all bullshit.
Let's start with "kol nidre." This refers to a prayer that starts the evening service: we pray that if, in a year from now, that "God" will forgive us for all our transgressions.
It was written during medieval times, because back them, Jews didn't know if they'd be around a year later to atone once again, so they figured this haunting prayer would cover them. We're no longer in the 15th century, yet we still recite this vow.
And what's all this about asking God for forgiveness? Well, if you're a good Jew, then you probably don't believe in God, because we're much too sophisticated and educated to believe in that. Yet, we still pray as if there is a God.
To me, I pray for transcendence: I fast, don't shower or shave, just to forget my body for a day and see what life is like if you're all "head." You also develop sympathy for those who don't have food and a place to bathe. This transcendence reminds us of just how fortunate we truly are.