Goyim Prayer

A couple of years ago, I sent a note out to friends.  Because it still seems generally relevant to my little life, I’ve reproduced it here (thanks to Gutenburg, Eli Whitney, Bill Gates et al for reminding us of the convenience of modular bits).

Tonight begins Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  I’m not Jewish, but of all religious nuttery, thoughtful atonement for shortfall has always struck me as the most sensible.  We could all stand to do better, starting with me.

While many Catholics make frequent recourse to confession, the Jews do this once a year — and boy, do they do it.  You have one month to settle every outstanding moral debt to the satisfaction of the obligor.  Like life itself, this is a doomed enterprise requiring complete commitment in order to fail perfectly.

I started late, last night over supper and on the phone with the kids and Pretty Wife.  In ways that wouldn’t interest you, I’ve failed them a thousand times.  They put up with me anyway, and they all promised to give me another shot.

Although it seems inappropriate to bang on the computer on a day of fasting and introspection, I’m not sure how to extend atonement among the full list of family, friends and acquaintances without recourse to this magic box.  So, for those of you whom I contact primarily (or exclusively) through two-dimensional screens and keyboards, please
accept my regret for those things I should have done better for you — and my open-ended offer to make it better in a manner that satisfies you.

My imperfect understanding of this season is that one closes with an appeal to G-D to be written into the Book of Life for one more year. That’s not my goal.

It’s not my call when I enter or leave this world, and it smacks of hubris to try tweaking the scoreboard from out here in the cheap seats.

My prayer is to be written into the hearts of my friends.

I offer it to you.

Humbly submitted,


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  1. My prayer is to be written into the hearts of my friends.

    Ask, and ye shall receive.


  2. “My prayer is to be written into the hearts of my friends”.


  3. Ed in Miami says

    I’m an Orthodox Jewish motorcyclist–when my wife lets me! Yom Kippur atones for sins between man and G-d, like violating Sabbath and dietary restrictions. Yom Kippur does not help for sins between man and man. For that, you have to make whatever reparations are necessary and ask the offended party for forgiveness. The Book of Life means both this world and the World-to-Come, as none of us lives forever. We are asking for both in our prayers. By the way, we appreciate your support! P.S. I have a copy of “Head Check”, and enjoyed the read.

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