I glance at my watch for the last time. A quarter to seven. I
neatly remove it and set it aside. I won't need it any
Today I am an angel, wafted into some fifth dimension where
my soul can soar. My timepiece, it seems, is the last vestige
of this worldliness, by whose strap I refuse to hang, to hang
on to whatever is holding me down here.
Off to shul I glide on air-borne foam rubber soles, to
boost that feeling of earthborne wings. Today, nothing, I
hope, will anchor me down.
It was a tentative step, three years ago, when I found myself
all alone, the brood having left the coop, each to their own
new nest, thank G-d, and this year, there were no babies to
feed, not even a cholent pot on the blech for
those under-age children, some who resisted, some not, to
keep body and soul together.
Then I had discovered that I was on my own; it was my
machzor and me, my thoughts and me, my bubble which
only allowed for the osmosis of outside sound. Would I soar
this year, with the help of the potent prayers, the month-
and-nine-day buildup to Yom Kippur, to new heights of
understanding, intensity, feeling, pouring myself into the
magnificent, meaningful words of black and white fire before
I had slipped off my watch that morning before coming to
shul. But then, suddenly, I caught myself — Oh,
no! — looking at the clock on the wall in front of
It was then that I made my Yom Kippur Resolution. To forget
about Time. To be superhumanly beyond Time. I would forget
the existence of Time, forget all distractions and pray.
I was reminded of the verse that says, "Days were created and
`lo' is one of them." This was synonomously
written/read with both an alef and a vov and
was interpreted by Chazal to denote both.
There is one day in the year when we are masters of our
souls. If we are willy-nilly chained to our bodies for the
entire year, indentured to its demands, giving Satan a
foothold into the door of our body-soul, Yom Kippur, at
least, is a day when Satan has `no' power over us. That day
belongs to the individual, lo, to him. It is a Divine
gift, an invitation to come join the heavenly ranks, to taste
the eternal by shucking off the coils of the body which is
always demanding its needs, and resembling angels.
Chazal helped us with the five parameters of activities which
we must ignore on Yom Kippur, which include, of course,
feeding the `engine.' But today, we wouldn't need that engine
to transport us. We could soar on the wings of prayer.
And that year, I added another restriction — the
elimination of the time factor. I resolved NOT to look at
that clock. That horrible clock which dominates every moment
of our lives, for the better, most of the time, but is like a
tyrant, for the worse, nonetheless.
On this day, I would forget about time, forget about my point
in time and how-many-hours-until . . . I would become a point
in the fifth dimension, a point in a celestial continuum.
That year, I succeeded in my resolve. I did not look at the
shul clock (to be honest — except for once, not
on purpose, but by habit). I practiced shemiras
einayim and stayed within my gilded soap bubble. And when
I finally made it to the finish line, let me tell you: it
felt very, very good.
I must tell others about it, I thought, and resolved to write
about my discovery and my feelings about it. I kept on
postponing it because I wanted the message to be so clear, so
perfect, so apparent, so self-evident once you realized it
And then here it was, the YATED deadline. The clock was still
ticking on and I wanted to create a lifeline. I finally sat
down to write it, but it falls short of my expectations. How
can one report a visit to a magical world after having landed
bump back into the 300 plus days of mundane living? I can
remember it, but have I conveyed a miniscule non-moment of
the heady experience?
All I can say is — if you're at the stage where you are
already spending the day in shul and have no time-
grounded responsibilities — forget the clock. Discover
what makes your own soul tick. Make that extra special effort
not to look at the worldclock and not to think about time.
Maybe next year, dear reader and fellow writer —
someone out there who has tasted it will be able to better
express the experience and provide us all with those wings to
fly beyond the gravity of earth, beyond the chronosphere and
into the stratosphere of the fifth dimension.