Pedestrians crossing street 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
"Don’t bother to apologize if you don’t mean it!”
It is a rebuke many of us grew
up hearing from parents or teachers. Another version is: “If you’re truly
sorry, prove it!”
During the month of Elul and the first ten days of Tishrei
from Rosh Hashana through Yom Kippur, pious Jews, and even not-sopious ones,
spend a great deal of time in penitential prayer, the end result of which they
hope will be long life, health and prosperity.
According to Jewish
tradition, their fate is determined and inscribed during Rosh Hashana, and
sealed on Yom Kippur, though a fatal edict may be reversed by prayer, repentance
and gifts to charity.
Among the more common sins of the Jewish people –
at least those residing in Israel and New York – is jaywalking. It is almost
always a dangerous habit which involves possible injury and risk of life, not
only to the miscreant but also to the driver of the vehicle which may collide
with the wrongdoer. If there are passengers in the vehicle, they too may
be hurt or even killed in the driver’s last-minute effort to avoid a
Changes in traffic regulations have made jaywalking even more
dangerous than it used to be, because drivers turning right now get the green
light at the same time as pedestrians around the corner. This means that
both the driver and the pedestrian have to be doubly on guard.
jaywalking can sometimes be understood when a person involved is running to
catch a bus that comes at half-hour intervals, the sin is nonetheless
unforgivable, especially when the person involved is an errant parent dragging a
reluctant child who has been taught at school to wait for the light to turn
green. It is amazing how many parents wheel baby carriages across the
road in the face of a red light. It amounts to nothing less than spitting in the
face of God.
The same thing happens on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, when
motorized traffic is reduced to a minimum.
People walking to synagogue
often prefer to walk in the middle of the road, ignoring the fact that not
everyone observes the halachic (Jewish religious) restrictions of the day and
that there are people on two- and four-wheeled vehicles who are delighted to
have the opportunity to drive even faster than they usually do.
taking into account that there are neighborhoods where there is no vehicular
traffic during Yom Kippur, even there things return to normal as soon as the
fast is over.
But that doesn’t seem to influence many pedestrians,
including prominent members of the legal profession and people who regard
themselves as religiously orthodox. They blithely cross the road as if
there was no traffic at all, not taking into account that a driver who has
fasted for more than 24 hours might be light-headed and not as in control of the
vehicle as he or she should be.
Here again, parents are dragging young
children into possible peril.
And again, it’s spitting in the face of
For goodness sake, if you just asked Him (or Her) to inscribe you in
the Book of Life, why are you risking death for yourselves and your loved ones?
True repentance this Yom Kippur can be demonstrated by waiting for the light to
turn green. Otherwise just as a fatal edict may be reversed to give a true
penitent an extra lease on life, the opposite can happen and crossing the road
on a red light can prove fatal.Tell us your story
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