This time, I’m going to skip the usual evil atheist rants about how irrational and hypocritical Yom Kippur is and write a paragraph or two (or more) on a rather striking side effect of Yom Kippur.
Since this blog, with its 30-views-a-day-max, probably lacks any Israeli readers who probably know of this by now, I think I would probably make a few eyebrows to be raised by writing that on Yom Kippur, there is, indeed, a complete ban on driving a car or operating ANY business or shop whatsoever. Not even the workplaces/businesses/shops that are open on Saturdays are open on Yom Kippur. There’s something so powerful about this national day-of-stupid that makes everyone kowtow to it.
I spent yesterday evening (Yom Kippur begins at evening and resumes for 24 hours thereof) with my girlfriend at her place, transporting myself between my city and hers on my bicycle, since car-driving is not allowed on Yom Kippur (unless you really like being mobbed to death by angry, hungry neighbors).
Cycling “inter-state” is not new to me, I often cycled to Tel-Aviv and back and even further than that. It’s always a treat and with the pro-bike I have, it’s often a lot faster than a car in rush-hour. This time, however, it was extremely annoying. The streets last night were festered with bright-eyed prepubescent idiots and their unwary parents, apparently very much aware of a lot of inane aspirations barring keeping their tiny eyes on the road infront of them and not, as so often happens, ending sunny side up on the kerb.
Now, now. It’s not that I hate kids. I just hate it when a few thousands kids get on bikes and start cycling around without being precautious. It’s this whole inane ritual every year that, since there’s apparently insufficient supervision of this “bicycle-holiday”. Hundreds of kids all around Israel are injured and sometimes even admitted every year. It’s as though the silliness of not drinking nor eating for adults makes them envious of their children. (don’t mind not eating for a day, but not drinking? Shit, that’s stupid!). Apparently, there’s some jealous incentive to make sure kids suffer on Yom Kippur too.
But this is, really, not that striking side effect I wanted to write about. Cycling back home today (gotta get back to work, and I’m STILL procrastinating), I cycled the freeway, almost entirely by myself barring the occasional cycler (most of the cyclers congregate in urban areas. I guess their parents can’t walk so much without eating or drinking).
Cycling around the freeway, above bridges and entirely in the open, the wind finally unhindered by thousands of cars and now fully rampant and extremely resistent to my efforts to cycle through it, I actually found myself at awe of this human endeavor to completely cease all productive activity for 24 hours.
In a free society, it’s probably for the better that every person rests (and definitely atones!) on his own free time or when the time is right, but to see the roads entirely empty, whole streets deserted, ground-zeroish silence plaguing the streets and boulevards that are simply always buzzing with activity – that is simply wondrous and quite breath-taking.
If this occasion or holiday or whatever it is that Jews want to call it was a celebration of, oh, I don’t know, just our ability to walk on our legs for once without polluting the earth, or a national day of complete and utter repose, including, for some reason, not using cars – I think it’d be a great idea, or at least a nice party-game for the entire nation.
It’s just so fucked up that us Israelies have to couple almost everything pretty with some stupid and irrational conjunction.
It’s FUN to cycle, it’s good to rest every now and then, it’s simply breath-taking to be enveloped in silence in a world filled with architecture.
Ironically, it is for this reason that I love Yom Kippur more than any other Jewish holiday. This doesn’t lack the same dose of st00p1d that all the other holidays do, but at least on Yom Kippur I get to actually appreciate the country I live in in a different, more natural light.