April 2, 2010
The Tower of Babble
In Genesis 11, the people decided to build a tower to the heavens to prevent themselves to be “scattered abroad upon the face of the Earth.” But a higher being, aka “The Lord,” wasn’t pleased and sayeth, “Let us go down and there confound their language, that they might not understand one another’s speech.” Perhaps that’s why we are still confused by what others say and why some people become upset when the voice mail prompt says “Press One for English.”
Religion is a Way, Weigh, Whey of Life
Religions are also misunderstood by those who aren’t true believers specially if someone is an atheist, and in America you can be one, thank God. Today is Good Friday, followed by Easter Sunday and preceded by Palm Sunday and Ash Wednesday — important and solemn days in the Christian religion. Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is a solemn fast day when Jews ask for forgiveness for their previous year’s sins as they begin to work on accumulating new ones. It’s also a day to honor those who have gone before with a special afternoon memorial service.
The lack of understanding of another’s religion is exemplified by the naïve outsider who tells a Catholic on Ash Wednesday, “Do you know you have dirt on your forehead?” Conversely a well-meaning Christian friend on Yom Kippur once said to me “Have a very happy Yom Kippur.”
Remember the Sabbath Days and Keep Them Holy
When I lived in Jerusalem there was the Moslem “Sabbath” on Friday, the Jewish Sabbath occurred on Saturday, and the Christian Sabbath was on Sunday. If you played your religious cards right, you could enjoy a three-day weekend.
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
That famous 20th century philosopher Rodney Glen King asked that question and although he wasn’t questioning the multitude of wars waged for the sake of religion throughout history, perhaps my wife’s father found a way to have everyone get along and respect the other person’s way of worshipping. Joseph Santos had six daughters who were born during Franco’s reign in Spain in the 1940s. Although he and his wife were Jewish, he told his daughters to choose the religion that was most comfortable for them. The eldest stayed Jewish, the next became Catholic, the next was Jewish, the next oldest became Catholic, the fifth, my wife Carmen, stayed Jewish, and the youngest became Catholic. Two sisters remained in Spain and four ended up in Montreal, and I have attended a Catholic wedding and a Jewish Bar Mitzvah (is there another kind?). In Montreal, the youngest sister who is Catholic makes sure that the widower of her eldest Jewish sister is watched over, cared for and taken to all family affairs.