It is 5:43 a.m. and I am sitting at my computer. Is the problem apparent yet?
For those of you who don't "get it", let me spell it out. It is now 5:44 and I am awake. Normal people who are not night watchmen or nightclub staff are in bed at this hour. I am not a night watchmen or nightclub staff. Now do you get it?
I am awake because despite my best efforts to ignore the light pouring in through my bedroom blinds, it is pelting me in the face and screaming MORNING. RISE AND SHINE. And my body can't help but oblige.
So, needless to say, I am not amused. (you can tell it is the week of Yom Kippur because I have toned down my language. I have enough things to repent for this Saturday without squeezing a few extra items in as I try to slide into home.)
This is the point in my standard little rants where I usually say "Back to the point" but today THIS seguay is precisely the point.
Approximately five years ago, 5700 odd years into the history of the Jewish people, the egomanics in the religious political party Shas decided to tamper with Jewish tradition which apparently wasn't working for them. Apparently it took more than 5000 years to see this whopping flaw and great thinkers of many generations (such as Maimonades, Rashi, Nachmonides, Feinstein and more) simply missed it.
Some of you are already smiling and nodding -- and yes the rest of you are still in the dark (lucky you).
Here's the problem: Five years ago, it became the law to turn back the clocks away from Daylight Savings in the days preceeding Yom Kippur. The thinking of the short-sighted ultra-relgious Shas Party was that it would be easier to fast the exact same 25 hours if you could sleep for one more of those hours. The plan actually worked just fine until Yom Kippur found itself in mid-September.
In this day and age when any eight-year-old can with the aid of a basic computer and an internet connection can tell you when Yom Kippur is going to fall until the end of time, the excuse of short-sightedness does not hold any water.
Despite anger from all corners in the State, Shas has held it's ground (and hijacked the country) on the basis that changing this law would damage the Jewish character of Israel.
Do I have to say this again?
5770 years of survival from every conceivable enemy the world could throw at us.
OR.........A five-year-old law imposed by a minority player in the mishmash of Israeli politics.
What has this got to do with protecting the Jewish character of Israel? And do you really think that a mental trick like this is going to be a determining factor in our future Jewishness?
All I know is that I can't sleep and I am going to be awake for as much of the fast this weekend as I would have been without the clocks turned back. AND, in the meantime turning the clocks back harms our pocketbooks. by causing people who live in the Jewish country to spend more on electricity. It also means that the same Jews in Israel must now drive home from work in the dark. Israelis are lousy drivers in daylight so this should really improve the situation. And no more little extra time for lots of people to come home from work and play with their kids outside in the last few minutes of daylight before it is time for bed. Nope.
Family time isn't important either. Nor is highway safety. All that matters is a 25-hour fast that is STILL 25 hours.
And of course, did I mention that I can't sleep.