As most of you know this weekend is Good Friday, Passover and Easter. Which pretty much makes it the Judea Christian Triple Crown.
Being a total religious mutt, born a Jew, raised a Christian and then like most confused, rudderless people in search of some peace, I found my way to the East and somehow cobbled together a system of belief that works for me.
In observance of that I started the religious marathon a few days early by attending a lecture last night by Phillip Goldberg on the Vedas and how they affected the West from Emerson, the Beatles and beyond. I have written about Phil before. He is an extraordinary man who is able to distill what I fundamentally believe in nineteen books.
His latest, American Veda, is worth reading no matter what path you follow.
I never like to step on anyone’s belief toes. I don’t care who or what people worship or if they don’t, as long as they don’t hurt others.
And I won’t go into the horrible things done in the name of religion or why I personally believe some things and not others.
I do know for me I believe in believing in something.
In his book American Veda Phil talks about the functions religion serves.
He says and I quote….
Religion serves five basic functions. I’ve given each of them a name beginning with the prefix trans, meaning across, through or beyond.
TRANSMSIION: to impart to each generation meaningful customs, rituals, stories and historical continuity.
TRANSLATION: to help people interpret life events, acquire meaning and purpose, and affirm their connection to a larger whole.
TRANSACTION; to create and sustain healthy communities and provide guidelines for moral behavior and ethical relationships.
TRANSFORMATION: to foster maturation, ongoing growth, and the development of more fulfilled and more complete persons.
TRANSCEDENCE: to satisfy the yearning to enlarge the perceived boundaries of the self, touch the infinite, and untie with the ultimate Ground of Being.
For me this says it all.
This weekend many will flock to Church, Temples and tables to share and observe some of the above.
While I believe in all of these “Trans”, some of them one is only capable of doing alone.
But I do like the rituals, as do my children.
That being the case I am covering all bases. In observance of Passover we will have a family dinner. It’s not a real Seder, as I don’t have a clue as to how to do that. I even think I’m breaking many Jewish dietary laws as I’m marinating the chicken in yogurt. But that is because I bought seven 26-ounce yogurts instead of four ounce and I need to use them up. Being my grandfather was probably the most Jewish in a family that never observed anything, he would like the fact I am not wasting money and using up my surplus.
I told Lucy I ordered the challah from Fresh Direct. Lucy is the only one of us who seems to be chomping at the bit of being a full-fledged Jew.
She told me the least I could do was go to Zabars. I said you go to Zabars the day before Passover, it’s as crowded as Mecca at Ramadan. The reference eluded her, but I will use it again.
I ordered latkes from Lobels, which did get her Jewish retail stamp of approval. And we will light the normal candles that sit on our table. We will not say prayers, as we don’t know any.
But it’s our own ritual and it’s family and the best I can do or am willing to do in observnce of my Jewish heritage. Though compared to the way I was raised it’s almost Orthodox.
Having spent most of my life celebrating Easter, but not really understanding what it meant aside from the Cadbury and Peeps portion, we don’t go to Church. I used to do egg hunts for the kids when they were little. Ritual is ritual whether it involves candy or not. I might wander down the street to church on my own as I quite like the pomp, circumstance and hymns and then we will go to our club for Easter Brunch, which is a combo of Jews and Anglos.
The bottom line is we are together; it’s a ritual if mostly cobbled together by hydrogenated fats, sugar, and a reservation. But it’s ours.
I can’t impart to my kids what I believe. Though hopefully through example I can teach them to be good people and that there is something out there that is bigger than they are.
To all of you, my friends and readers, whatever you believe, whether this day and weekend has any significance or not, I wish you happiness and health and as many of the trans as you want and need; just try and avoid the fats.
And the spiritual term I have grown to prefer.