Holy Day

Holy Day

Donna Schaper

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1

It was Yom Kippur.  I was at Brighton Beach goofballing, which is often my word for Sabbath. Just putting one foot in front of the other.

All of a sudden I really had to go to the bathroom and all the restaurants were closed.  Brighton Beach is a Brooklyn neighborhood that is home to a great many Russian Jews.  That's how I ended up in the Jewish Home for the Aged, on a high holy day.  It was the only place open.

I used the facilities and came out to see four women, two in wheelchairs, about to really duke it out. Two of the women, the ones in the chairs, were old; two were young.  One of the older women was introducing the other older woman to her daughter and her daughter's partner.  Clearly a holy day visit was involved.

Words had already been exchanged.  The friend of what proved to be the mother of the couple SPAT at one of the women in the couple.  She spat.  A really good hurl too, as the kids would say.  I thought there was going to be a fistfight.  Instead, the younger woman took the spit off her cheek and for a moment thought of doing something equally violent.  You could see it on her face.  Then she scraped the spit off her cheek and put it on the hurler's blouse.  She said, very quietly, "I don't think this belongs to me."  She had faith more than hate, hope more than despair, conviction more than rejection.

Prayer

Let us make all days holy and refrain from spitting, in reality or in our hearts.  Amen

About the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Grace at Table: Small Spiritual Solutions to Large Material Problems.