Join me on an exciting adventure through the Jewish year, as we explore how each holiday contributes to its own mental health disorder. The power of Jewish Wisdom compells you!
The theme through all of this is disproportion – doing one thing to the extreme one period a year and “taking the lesson with you”. In reality you don’t do anything of the sort and instead feel relieved that that shit is over… at least for another year.
Purim: Substance Abuse
It’s time to use a toxic substance to get so intoxicated that you become incoherent. You should also start at the age of 13, and, since this is the one time of year you get drunk, you should arm yourself with the ignorance of how to actually keep your liquor inside your body.
This, of course to discover the “real you” and “remove your mask”. [it would make a lot more sense if “libesumi” was referring to other substances, like Cannabis. But we know that all other substances are evil and only alcohol is worth consuming in copious amounts.]
This holiday needs no introduction. Obsess about microscopic molecules of “leavened bread”, which of course are a metaphor for the “evil inclination” that lies within you. Pour acid over every available surface and use toothpicks to clean between your tiles, all the while telling yourself that this is what “real freedom” feels like.
George Orwell would be proud.
Not much happens on Shavuot, according to the Torah. Traditionally this is the time to pour some water on an alter. Not convinced by that lackluster display of non-inconvenient tradition, somebody somewhere decided that the only thing to do was to stay up all night studying, while sleeping all day, because the best way to show devotion to the word of God is to treat it like a college student right before an exam.
All this applies to men, because only they need to study the word of God. Women can go to a class in the evening, take care of the kids the next day, and cook both meals, so the men can wake up from their nap and immediately start eating.
Tisha B’av: Grief
A designated day for feeling sad, because that’s how emotions work. Get all the grief out of your system for exactly one year by reminding yourself of all the bad things that ever happened to the Jews.
Wallow in misery of how oppressed you have been, and will continue to be, until God saves you, (now is not the day to wax on about how African Americans should just get their shit together and stop being victims, that’s tomorrow). Throw in some personal blame for problems that happened 2,000 years ago; if you had your shit together none of this would have happened.
Rosh Hashana: Anxiety
Review all the ways God might kill you this year if you don’t beg for life and forgiveness, and rejoice in awe as you appoint him your king (Stockholm Syndrome much?). Remember to listen to the shofar’s 100 blasts so that the Satan gets properly confused – when not confused, Satan enjoys whispering sweet nothings into God’s ear which then leads to sufferings and smitings. See the book of Job for reference.
Also, avoid eating nuts because they taste like the Gimatriya of sin.
Yom Kippur: Guilt
The more you repeat all of your sins aloud, including the ones you didn’t commit (speaking dofi, anyone?), and the more force you use in beating your chest, the more God will forgive you. But only if you feel really really bad, because God can see both your kidneys and your heart and knows when you’re just faking it.
Succot: Fixing impermanence with some permanence
This could have been a good one. “What’s the point of it all? nothing lasts!” laments Solomon quite astutely. “Fixed that for you,” say the rabbis, tacking on a single verse at the end of Ecclesiastes that declares that, actually, fearing God and keeping His commandments is the Solution To All Problems.
So we go out into temporary huts to remind ourselves of that nothing lasts forever, and then we stuff our faces with food and make sure that no dirty pots and pans enter and disrupt the holiness of this impermanence.
And then we shake a lemon, because nothing says “what the hell are we doing here?” like shaking a lemon to summon the rain.
Chanukkah: Fighting enlightenment with fire
The Greeks were making important contributions to language, mathematics, astronomy, and medicine, which we still appreciate and benefit from to this day. They were the developed civilization of the time.
Along came the local Taliban tribe called the Maccabees and decided to wage a guerilla war to eradicate their terrible philosophy and reinstate male genital mutilation. They won, briefly, and immediately descended into their own internal anarchy. A shocking development.
We commemorate this victory by lighting candles to remind ourselves of the temple where we worshiped one imaginary deity, not like those idiots who worshiped multiple. Originally there was only enough stupidity to last for one night, but there was a miracle and it’s still going on to this day.