We have all seen the memes highlighting the difficulty in keeping days of the week and months of the year straight during this pandemic. For most of us, our regular routines (often decades-long) have been interrupted and each day seems the same as the one before sitting in front of a laptop at home. Others have been luckier (?) and have jobs that require them to be out of the house which may provide more of a rhythm. Even so, the almost non-existent Memorial Day weekend and July 4 celebrations downplayed these markers in our annual calendar. What day is it anyway?
In Chapter 41 of the Book of Genesis when Pharaoh was searching for someone to interpret his dreams, his cup-bearer says “Today I mention my sins.” The cup-bearer remembered that there was a man, Joseph, he had met in prison who was good at interpreting dreams. The only way the cup-bearer could bring this up, though, was to remind Pharaoh that at one time the King of Egypt had put him in the slammer. Today, this is an idiomatic expression in Hebrew used when someone must admit as part of a conversation something unpleasant that they had done earlier.
In today’s blog post, I mention my sins. Yesterday, Wednesday, was Rosh Chodesh Av–the beginning of the new Hebrew month of Av. And I completely forgot about it. It wasn’t until after sunset last night that I realized that they entire day had passed without me noticing. Not such a big deal, right? Actually, the day is marked with special prayers (Ya’aleh v’Yavo, Hallel, Musaf, Psalm 104) and I said my daily prayers (all three times) in the regular fashion. This hasn’t happened since I began doing thrice daily prayers over 30 years ago.
How did this happen? Typically, the New Moon is announced in synagogue the Shabbat morning beforehand. A Torah Scroll is held, everyone rises, and the prayer leader recites the special prayer including the name of the month and when it will begin. Since the beginning of the pandemic, my synagogue has not had in-person Saturday morning services, so the prayer was not recited. Even so, I still knew it was on Wednesday but I simply forgot. I’ll blame it on the pandemic.
It seems to me that a similar thing happens with our fitness regimen. Many of us before the pandemic were in the habit of going to the gym on certain days of the week. Certain days might be lifting days and others cardio. Regular gym-goers have a routine, a rhythm…and I have seen that erode with many of my clients. Not wanting to come into the gym, and not excited about a virtual workout time passes. It may seem like it’s only been a few days or maybe a couple of weeks without a workout…but for many it has been since mid-March–over 4 months!
I am working on a strategy so that I don’t miss Rosh Chodesh next month (the following month is Rosh Hashanah so I won’t miss that!). I am also encouraging my clients to form plans to get them in that fitness routine that means so much. It won’t be easy. This pandemic has really messed with us.
Time is too precious. It is holy. Let’s make a commitment to not lose track of it.