Sealing the Book

Every year in this week between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur I ask the same question:

“How could anyone leave the name of a beautiful six year old out of the book.”

The book.

The book of life has entries for everyone who will live another year. Your name is entered – or not – on Rosh Hashannah and the book is sealed on Yom Kippur.

What an odd concept.

In just a few hours from now this year’s book is sealed. If you believe in that literally, then at that point it is determined whether or not you will be around a year from now.

I have many questions.

There’s the legal question. Does it close at the end of Yom Kippur local time? I mean, I’m here in Cleveland. Is my fate sealed an hour before my sister’s is sealed in Chicago and three hour’s before my brother’s in California?

Come to think about it; what about my sister? She was home for Rosh Hashannah but here for Yom Kippur. If she was entered into the book according to the Chicago time zone then does she have an extra hour now that she’s here in Cleveland?

You’d think that maybe you have until Yom Kippur ends for the people in the last time zone on earth. No more Yom Kippur anywhere. Let’s close the book.

I have other questions.

If it’s known who isn’t going to make it through the year, why not just make it happen the day after Yom Kippur. Sure, you’d dread this day but once the day is over you could breathe more easily for another year.

And what about disasters?

If you are thumbing through the book, wouldn’t you have noticed a bump in New Yorker’s dying on that day in September twelve years ago. You would have known for a whole year that something awful was going to happen. You probably would have noticed that a lot of these people named in the book worked in the same building.

I guess, if my name is sealed in the book, there’s nothing to be done.

I ask questions. I have so many to ask.

Really, I’m not so very religious that I literally believe in this book of life.

If it existed, I’d want answers about why Elena’s name was left out eight years ago.

What we believe in tells us a lot about ourselves. What we believe collectively is a rich source of social knowledge as well.

What drove us to believe in this book of life? It must have comforted us. It must have helped us to believe that we can’t prevent loss.

How is that comforting?

And what about infants to be born who are not yet conceived. Does the book know which of these will survive?

So many questions.

This book.

This book that I don’t believe in.

I hope Maggie, Kim, and my names are in it when it is sealed tonight.

Published in: on September 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm  Comments (2)