Reflection: I believe

Posted: 29th September 2021

In today’s I believe assembly I would like to talk about my yarmulke, the traditions it represents and the stories of the Jewish people that it holds.

The origin of the yarmulke is when in ancient times, my ancestors would cover their heads to show respect Hashem, g-d.  However, many of my Jewish friends will not wear one because they may believe that it should only be worn during prayer or because they may not be practising, but some will not wear one out of fear of being persecuted for their religion and ethnicity.  I wear mine not out of fearlessness but rather because of the 4,000-year-old traditions it represents.

It was because of these traditions that Jews throughout the ages showed their fearlessness: whether it was Abraham, the father of the Abrahamic religions, who had faith in g-d’s instructions to travel over 1,000 miles to start his new religion; whether it was Moshe who did not run away when Hashem revealed himself with a burning bush; whether it was Nahshon, who when it came time for the Israelites to leave the land of Egypt by crossing the Red Sea, jumped in first before Moshe even split the sea for the Israelites to cross; whether it was the Jews who were living in the Achaemenid Empire who showed their fearlessness when given the right to defend themselves against Haman’s ideology and followers to wipe out the Jewish people in the Purim story; whether it was the Spanish Jews during the Spanish Inquisition who had to hide their outlawed religion under pain of death but continued to maintain their traditions in hiding.

I believe in the practice of lighting Candles once a week to welcome the spirit of shabbat.  I believe in the practice of fasting for 25 hours during Yom Kippur when heaven touches the earth so that I can focus on my words and thoughts so that we may be written in the book of life.  I believe in the practice of eating in a temporary shelter for a week in a year to commemorate when my ancestors where wandering in the desert.  I believe in the practice of eating an absurd number of doughnuts during the time of Chanukah to commemorate when a jar of oil that should have lasted a single day lasted for eight.

To conclude, I believe in these traditions despite my people being expelled, exiled and persecuted through the ages and through it all we have retained our identity as a people.  To paraphrase fiddler on the roof “to recognise our faith, maybe that’s why we wear our hats.”

Yoel Goldberg

Upper Sixth Form

Categories: Reflection Senior News