Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Religion, Tradition and Family

An old story, that I only told DH this week...

Some years ago, my Grandmother went to visit her mother, my Great-Grandmother. My Grandmother was in her 50's at this point, so my Great-Grandmother was somewhere in around 85-86 years old. My Great-Grandmother was on her hands and knees, scrubbing the kitchen floor. Exclaimed my Grandmother, "Ma, what are you doing?" My Great-Grandmother replied that "tomorrow is yontif." (yontif being yiddish for Jewish holiday.)
My Grandmother: "but Ma, you don't believe."

My Great-Grandmother: "What does that have to do with it?"

Sometimes, the original reasons for doing something are no longer enough, or no longer existant. Traditions and ritual can become important when the backing reason are less important than the actions itself. I can't imagine ever finding transcendence in scrubbing the kitchen floor, but the lesson is there, and can be applied to so much we do, whether it is a Church reading for a family member, or kashering the kitchen once a year. The being aware of why we do something, the awareness that my Great-Grandmother possessed, that is precious.

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