Monday, October 06, 2008

So far so good

Sportswise, things are going well: my USC Trojans somewhat redeemed themselves over the weekend and the Red Sox won tonight in a thrilling bottom of the ninth. My hopes for a Dodgers-Red Sox World Series are alive and well.

Schoolwise, I'm trying to stay on top of all the mounds of reading, but last week's and this week's Jewish holidays have helped immensely, giving me a few much needed days off for catch-up and catching a breath.

The Jewish holidays always mystify me a little bit. Actually "mystify" is no longer the right word because I totally get it, but I just think it's silly. I refer, of course, to the ides of beginning a day at sundown. Why is that the "beginning" of a day? It's so clearly the late middle. What if I just decided that my football game started in the third quarter, and finished in the first half of next week's game? That makes about as much sense to me. (Although some days, it could help the Trojans considerably.)

So like, last week it was Rosh Hashanah and we had Tuesday and Wednesday off. But that meant if you had Monday evening classes, those were also cancelled, because in Jewish holidayland, Monday is the start of Tuesday, whereas if you had Wednesday evening classes you didn't actually have Wednesday off in its entirety, because you had to go to those. Sorry, 5 p.m., holiday's over! SO WRONG. I myself don't have any Monday or Wednesday evening classes this semester (I have a Tuesday evening class, so I lucked out this Rosh Hash) but I was amused watching friends determine to which day their evening belonged.

I was actually pondering this whole Judaism lifestyle thing the other week with a few classmates. Well, they really just listened more than actually co-pondered. A lot of people say I shouldn't be as annoyed by Judaism as I am by other religions because the Jews are generally more tolerant, intellectual, and so on. Maybe. But that's so macro. I really feel like being a religious Jew, especially orthodox, would seriously cramp my style day-to-day. The whole Sabbath thing is the perfect example. It starts on Friday night, so that's shot, and then Saturday is for "rest" too. Geez, I had it bad enough as a child being bored to tears and not allowed to do anything except church it up ONE day a week, on Sundays, but to lose two days? I mean, Friday night is the good part of Friday! And then Saturday's gone too, until it gets dark. Then again, I don't really know what Jews do on the Sabbath, but I do know there are restrictions, and it's restrictions of which I complain.

The other restriction I pondered, while my classmates looked on in what may have been horror, is the wearing things on the head. (I'm not even bothering with the dress code in general because ugh, but that's a given ugh.) The whole having to put something on your head before you leave the house = major inconvenience. What if I roll out of bed on a lazy Saturday morning (AND turn on a light via switch! ha!) and then want to just throw on sweats and dash around the corner to the neighborhood coffee shop? Well, my Jewish classmate argued, if you had been raised that way you would think nothing of slapping a covering on your head on the way out the door; it would be as natural to you as putting on shoes. But I say shoes serve a purpose! There are rocks, and nails, and dog excrement, and things on the sidewalk. Shoes make sense.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF RELIGIONS (many, many, many of them) MAKING YOU PUT THINGS ON YOUR HEAD? This is my favorite question in life. And no one knows.

Then again, these things aren't as bad as having to pray five times a day facing east and all that. That's a really annoying one. What if you're taking a nap? Also, aren't all the prayers at specified times? What if you go to a movie? Do you have to take prayer time into account when you plan your cinema outing?

So many things I don't understand about religions. And you know, I've even taken World Religion classes before. But they are all big theory and don't tell me about these little interesting details.

1 comment:

Kim Diaz said...

As far as I know, speaking in a general-multi -cultural-world reg kind of way, based on reading knowledge and speaking to practitioners of various faiths as well as experience visiting different houses of worship and so on - the head covering thing has been, in more than one religious culture, a gesture of humility, of humbling oneself before God or gods/Gods, of admitting to yourself and the general population that you are not the top dog in the room, it's God's/gods'/Gods' house after all. It is also, in some religious cultures, a way of demonstrating equality and doing away with class differences for at least that hour of worship - all are equal and equally humble before the supreme being (s).