Friday, September 21, 2007

Cheese Balls and Tshuvah

Tonight marks the start of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. This is the first year in almost a decade that I haven't had the Jewish holidays off work, and I'm thinking wistfully of the holiday book collection at my old job and wishing I could get my hands on some of them now, to share with my daughter and to think about myself.

The central concept of Yom Kippur is tshuvah. Though tshuvah is generally translated as "repentance," it literally means "turning": turning from sin--however you define that, whether it be hurtful behavior or not living up to one's own potential--to something better. Trying, and failing, and apologizing to whoever you hurt, and trying to make restitution if you can, and then getting back on that horse and trying again.

This is a concept that even--or maybe, especially--young kids can understand, and there are several decent children's books on the topic. One perennial favorite is Gershon's Monster, by that doyen of Jewish holiday books (and Anansi stories, while he's at it) Eric Kimmel. Instead of repenting or apologizing for any of his little thoughtless acts, Gershon sweeps them up and puts them in the cellar. On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, he tosses them all into the sea. Eventually all the un-dealt-with sins become a huge monster that threaten what is dearest and most precious to him. There are echoes of King Lear and other old, dark tales in this simple story, but it never seemed to bother the enraptured kids who sought the book out by name even in the off-season. I think they recognized the power and truth behind it. Or maybe they just liked the big scary monster, as illustrated by Caldecott Honor medalist Jon Muth.

Jacqueline Jules's The Hardest Word is more nakedly didactic, but still enjoyable. The Ziz (an imaginary huge bird creature that apparently has its origins in Jewish mythology), after destroying a vegetable garden, must do repentance by finding and saying the very hardest word of all. Any guesses what it is? (hint: it starts with an "S.") Kids enjoy this one, too, and can identify with the well-meaning but hapless Ziz.

For my money, though, the best book about tshuvah is a title doesn't even refer to Yom Kippur, or to Judaism at all. In Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes, Lilly goes through all the important steps of true repentance after drawing a mean picture of her teacher, Mr. Slinger, in a burst of temper: She owns up to what she did, she feels true remorse, she makes restitution by drawing a nicer picture and writing a story and bringing in home-baked cheese balls, and she apologizes in person. She even does the hardest thing of all, which is to confront the evidence of her wrongdoing when Mr. Slinger gently brings out the dreaded picture and asks what she thinks he should do with it.

I'll be thinking of Lilly tomorrow night when the final shofar blast sounds and everyone cheers, and then the whole congregation--like Mr. Slinger's class--eats some tasty snacks. Tshuvah like hers deserves a celebration.

4 comments:

susan said...

You are so right: Lily is a fabulous character to ponder together today.

You've just made me see that book in a whole different light.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Ohh... no-frills cheese balls! (Not for Yom Kippur, though). For the record, I think that the Pirate Booty people's "Cannon Balls" are the closest things I've ever come to Lilly's no-frills cheese balls.

Jim said...

Nat Schlesinger Killed his brother Jack and he also stole his entire estate

Anonymous said...

情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,按摩棒,震動按摩棒,微調按摩棒,情趣按摩棒,逼真按摩棒,G點,跳蛋,跳蛋,跳蛋,性感內衣,飛機杯,充氣娃娃,情趣娃娃,角色扮演,性感睡衣,SM,潤滑液,威而柔,香水,精油,芳香精油,自慰套,自慰,性感吊帶襪,吊帶襪,情趣用品加盟AIO交友愛情館,情人歡愉用品,美女視訊,情色交友,視訊交友,辣妹視訊,美女交友,嘟嘟成人網,成人網站,A片,A片下載,免費A片,免費A片下載愛情公寓,情色,舊情人,情色貼圖,情色文學,情色交友,色情聊天室,色情小說,一葉情貼圖片區,情色小說,色情,色情遊戲,情色視訊,情色電影,aio交友愛情館,色情a片,一夜情,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊,視訊,視訊美女,美女視訊,視訊交友,視訊聊天,免費視訊聊天室,情人視訊網,影音視訊聊天室,視訊交友90739,成人影片,成人交友,美女交友,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人貼圖,成人電影,A片,豆豆聊天室,聊天室,UT聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,男同志聊天室,UT男同志聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,080聊天室,080苗栗人聊天室,6K聊天室,女同志聊天室,小高聊天室,上班族聊天室,080中部人聊天室,同志聊天室,聊天室交友,中部人聊天室,成人聊天室,一夜情聊天室,情色聊天室,寄情築園小遊戲情境坊歡愉用品,情趣用品,成人網站,情人節禮物,情人節,AIO交友愛情館,情色,情色貼圖,情色文學,情色交友,色情聊天室,色情小說,七夕情人節,色情,情色電影,色情網站,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,情色視訊,免費視訊聊天,美女視訊,視訊美女,美女交友,美女,情色交友,成人交友,自拍,本土自拍,情人視訊網,視訊交友90739,生日禮物,情色論壇,正妹牆,免費A片下載,AV女優,成人影片,色情A片,成人論壇,情趣,免費成人影片,成人電影,成人影城,愛情公寓,成人影片,保險套,舊情人,微風成人,成人,成人遊戲,成人光碟,色情遊戲,跳蛋,按摩棒,一夜情,男同志聊天室,肛交,口交,性交,援交,免費視訊交友,視訊交友,一葉情貼圖片區,性愛,視訊,視訊聊天,A片,A片下載,免費A片,嘟嘟成人網,寄情築園小遊戲,女同志聊天室,免費視訊聊天室,一夜情聊天室,聊天室