Happy Peastover

My daughter calls it Peaster. I prefer Peastover. Or, Peacedover. So much goodwill floating around. We live in a confused house. We have no formal religion, only traditions. We'll eat Matzoh and hunt for eggs. We'll light candles and decorate a tree. Not with the lit candles though. That's strictly for those with lots of faith.

We don't do the whole atonement thing. That requires faith too. That there's some greater being who has the power to forgive your merely mortal human failings. I'd rather just stay merely mortal with human failings and make no apologies to anyone.

My favorite atonement story. I decided sophomore year of college to head over to "services" at Hillel with some friends on Yom Kippur. I dressed up, put on my "most respectful" face and lasted maybe 20 minutes before sneaking out. But I felt good about it. I had no idea what they were talking about, or sermonizing about... but I'd made an effort. Good for me, where's my reward.

And lo and behold there was one. Who did I bump into on the way back to my dorm but that really cute art student we were all drooling over. It was all looking very promising. Maybe there was something to this atonement thing after all.

So we talked awhile and smiled and ogled and it was looking like I'd have something to talk about back at the dorm...
And then it all went south. I began to realize this guy really liked to talk about himself. Non-stop. The conversation was nothing more than me being quiet while he went on and on and on about his wrestling career in high school and his art studies and his talent and his favorite icon David Bowie and everything you never needed to know about any of these subjects. If memory serves me... and it's been a few decades now... I believe I actually fell asleep while he talked.

Atonement. Damnedest thing isn't it. Comes back and bites you if you don't watch out. I haven't observed Yom Kippur since then. I stick with only the fun stuff.

Which brings us back to Peastover. While the Jews clawed their way out of slavery in the unforgiving desert with no time to stop and smell the roses or bake some bread and one Jew in particular is baking on a cross so that he can make his inevitable dramatic return... we commemorate all this by hunting for artificially colored eggs and tasteless crackers while our children, dressed in miniature suits and frilly dresses designed to impress the congregation, stand back in horror as the adults swarm the pristine lawns like locusts and dash through newly sanitized homes toppling furniture and breaking vases only to ensure that in the end their child can know the special sense of accomplishment that only an overflowing basket of sugar or a broken prize matzoh can bring.

In a nutshell, or eggshell... to honor these most holy of days, we somehow think it's OK to hop around in bunny suits with a bottle of sweet red wine as long as we're carrying our tin foil cross with a lamb shank dangling in the middle and a basket of purple peeps.

Happy Peastover. May the schwartz be with you.

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