When I was little, I didn’t have to go to temple on Yom Kippur. I got to go to the basement and make cool crafts. Every year, I would watch my sister and my parents walk into the big room with the colorful windows and get jealous. I would always wonder why they got to go into the cool room but I had to stay downstairs. I might not have known what actually happened during a service, but I knew it was exciting.
When I turned five, I finally got to come with my family into the cool room! It was even better than I thought it would be! The ceiling was one million feet tall with huge lamps all over! Rows and rows of benches filled up the huge room, and there were tons of huge flower pots with flowers to match. Finally, I got to put on a cool dress and sit on a bench next to all of the other fancy-dress people too! I was so excited! I didn’t understand exactly what was happening or what people were saying, but I knew it was cool.
The next year, I started to miss the days when I could go to the basement. I quickly learned that you’re not supposed to fidget or whisper during services, you need to follow along in the books with the backwards pages, and you have to sit and stand a lot. I had to find silent ways to keep myself busy. Using my boredom busters, I figured out that there were 217 wooden boards on the ceiling with 32 lamps hanging from them, and there were 58 flowers in each flower pot. I guess that nobody cares if a six year old doesn’t pay attention during a Yom Kippur service.
A few years later, I started to understand and follow along. I flipped the pages with everybody else, tried to figure out where we were in the book, and mumbled along to what everybody else was singing. I’m not sure if I was doing a good job of hiding my boredom, but I was glad to participate.
Fast forward just a bit to 2020. Six years after my first Yom Kippur service, we’re going to temple in our living room in sweatpants. No fancy dresses. No room with a tall ceiling. No stained glass windows, no big lamps, no wooden boards, and no backwards book. Just a TV, some comfy chairs, and wondering how much longer you need to stare at the screen for.
What was the point of this story? I guess it’s that you should make the most of what you have, because you never know what you’ll have later. Savor your metaphorical crafts and be grateful for your boredom. What if you aren’t Jewish and haven’t gone to temple in your life? This applies to everything, not just religious services! I think we’ve all been in school and thought, “Wow, I wish I could go home and watch TV all day.” Of course, the second that we couldn’t go to school anymore, all we wanted was to go back! Nothing will ever be perfect, so try to be happy with good enough.