Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Atonement…Judaism Distilled…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Jewish Themes,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Philosophy — Bob at 3:03 pm on Monday, September 17, 2018

Atonement: Judaism Distilledby Robert M. Katzman © October 1, 2012

This brief speculation, below, about meaning in poetic form was derived from a much more detailed and complicated original true story about my now deceased wife Joyce, grand-daughter Emjay and myself in Ottawa, Illinois ending up involving the Ottowa Police department. I somehow realized there was a poem within it, and decided to separate it.

Atonement Among The Christians 


Choosing to be in a small town in Central Illinois, over praying for forgiveness for my sins in a Chicago Synagogue on Yom Kippur–the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, is no simple decision

God, may be watching. Possibly, not approving. The risk could be fatal. But then, who knows?

When a person belongs to a group of people whose tiny numbers–less than 2/10ths of 1% of Earth’s entire population of seven billion or so, why worry about God noticing you no matter what you do?

Jews who don’t ever go to temple otherwise, overwhelmingly do go on Yom Kippur. Because the psychic consequences are impossible to live with.

If there is a God and you don’t go, and he wants you to go, man, you could be in real trouble. Why live with pressure like that?

Also, there is a part of the text that says on that day:

”It is determined for the coming year:

Who will live and who will die

Who will prosper and who will suffer

Who will find happiness and who will be miserable

(and this is my favorite part):

Who will die by fire, by drowning or be torn apart by wild beasts”

Observant Catholics have to worry about eternal damnation in Hell when they eventually die. Jews have to worry about Lions and Tigers and Bears eating them within the next twelve months!

This explains why Jews invented psychiatry and possibly Valium.

In effect, God wants what he wants. Are you in or are you out? Las Vegas would never take those odds, even if the Jews created that, too. More philosophically, on Yom Kippur a person is expected to forgive those who wronged them, wounded them and who caused them great pain, emotionally or otherwise. I can understand why there are so few Jews. If a person really believes, so much is expected.

Even hedge-fund managers, some billionaire, can’t buy their way out of celestial judgment. Or talk their way out. The conversation is both direct and within one’s soul.

Who can you lie to? Yourself?  God? Good luck with that

There is no one to intercede for you unless you admit everything and ask forgiveness for who you are, what you are and how you have conducted yourself for the last twelve months.

And who intercedes for you? Who (possibly) offers mercy to the guilty? Though on this hallowed day, everyoneis considered guilty of something?

God does.

Witness/Prosecutor/Judge and Jury, who long ago warned us:

He was a Jealous God.

Makes one nervous.

Then I thought: What if, in the last year, someone has harmed me? What if they don’t repent? How would I know?

If I did somehow know, should I still forgive them?  Is forgiving unforgivable actions part of the whole cleansing of the detritus of the old year?

Would my kindness go unnoticed?  Would my simmering resentment be impossible to hide from The Creator of the Universe?

Realizing that pretending to forgive is impossible to hide, especially if doing so was self-serving, is cosmic in its incomprehensibility.

No plotting or intrigue would accomplish the goal of starting fresh, wiping the slate clean and allow me to summon the emotional courage necessary to accept blame, even if I felt blameless in harming others.

Because Judaism is not a top-down faith, our religious leaders are seen only as respected teachers who are better informed about the history, customs, traditions and the Hebrew language than the average person. But not in any way considered to be conduits to God.

There is no edict about praying in a building. Wisconsin would do as well as any other place. Judaism is a portable religion by necessity, due to millennia of unpopularity in irrational places. Grab the Torah and run!

To be a “Wandering Jew” would be impossible if dragging a building along with us was essential. We survive, but only just, because we adapted to the world as it was and as it is. Not some unachievable ideal

Or more bluntly, I am a Synagogue.

Wherever I go, the culture, the traditions and the way I treat other people goes with me

Though my exterior surfaces have grayed and chipped, my inner sanctuary remains intact.


Publishing News!

(Currently seeking representation as a speaker/poet for hire)

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998 (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools can call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.


Comment by Sue Ellen Burckhart

October 5, 2018 @ 4:43 pm

Very interesting I really enjoyed the post. I have a blog on Google called istheresexaftersixty.com It isn’t really about sex… it is about how to function after 60 and make life as interesting as the beginning and the end. One of my friends thought I should read your posts. I like it.

Comment by Brad Dechter

September 26, 2020 @ 6:55 am

Thank you for making an argument against organized religion. I do agree with you- it’s all within our souls. That being said, an organized “house” is still needed for the teaching and building of those souls, so the beliefs and traditions can be handed down generation to generation. That house provides the foundation and the structure for future generations. So we live and learn our ways, and learn and live our ways.
Great insite!

Comment by james

September 26, 2020 @ 11:03 am

the House is like a book containing the truths and thoughts , The people in the House can be seen as the pages of the book

Comment by Don Larson

September 27, 2020 @ 7:43 pm

Hi Bob,

You wrote a great story about your personal allegiance to your faith.

Have a great fresh new year!


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