Saturday, October 4, 2014

Like Riding a Bike

On that marvelous evening of Yom Kippur, the streets all over the country become our play ground.  Except for an occasional ambulance or security vehicle, bikes and scooters and strollers and roller blades take over, and the radios and televisions go dead silent.

Every year Raphaela take a late evening stroll down to the usually hazardous main road near our house and meet up with friends.  The children get bigger every year and there is a particular thrill being able to tell a five year old, "It's OK, why don't you go running in the street?"

One of our friends who is himself non-religious, but Yom Kippur observant, told me that he "loves that there is a complete day of rest for 25 hours, that there is so much good with the country shutting down, and that we should do it more often."

Another friend said that she feels like for one night, the streets and city belong to her, being able to see friends and not even have a think about traffic accidents or cable tv or work the next day; it makes you wonder to whom the country belongs the other 364 days of the year.

One of our friends brought an adult bike, and on a whim I asked if I could try it out, ride around a little.  The last time I actively rode was almost 20 years ago, when I biked to Chiropractic school on a regular basis, and so I assumed (foolishly) that it would come back to me in an instant.  At first I felt totally unstable and frightened, and saw myself blacking out in a heap on the pavement.  Then after encouragement I got back on and managed a few blocks, but still felt shaky.

I realized that I probably should get both of us - me and Raphaela - lessons before we head out on the open road on our bicycles.

But that is Yom Kippur, is it not?  Testing our limits and praying and setting new goals.

Today Raphaela and I sat and prayed together, and when I was finished I told Raphaela to take the opportunity of the day to thank G-d for the gifts of our daily life, putting in requests and asking for forgiveness.  My beautiful daughter opened the session with, "Thank you G-d for giving me a good Mommy."

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