I don't expect to be reincarnated,
so I'll blog about dying and death (with appropriate irreverence) while I'm still alive.

Monday, September 13, 2010

This week is weird

Adapted from Wikipedia: In Jewish tradition, The Book of Life is opened on Rosh Hashanah (which started on the evening of September 8), when God begins an annual evaluation of everyone.

Those who will be allowed to live stay in the Book of Life. Others are deleted.

The ten days that start with Rosh Hashanah are known as the Days of Awe, and the Days of Repentance. This is a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur (which ends at sundown on September 18). It can't hurt for non-Jews to try it, too. You can also repent in February or August, or on every day. Off-season repentance may not buy you another year, but maybe it will help.

God is said to have two "books"-- a book of life and a book of death, and records who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year.

It is said that these books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter God's decree. The actions that change the decision are repentance, prayer and good deeds (usually charity). These "books" are sealed on Yom Kippur.

A common greeting at this time of year is L'shanah tovah ("for a good year"). This is a shortening of "L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" (or to women, "L'shanah tovah tikatevi v'taihatemi"), which means "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year."

So why is this week weird for me?

Today I'm supposed to get the results of a prostate biopsy and will find out if I have cancer. Later this week I go to the hospital to get my kidney stones zapped, and the next day I see a cardiologist about my extra heartbeat. Life was much simpler when our ancestors got eaten by dinosaurs when they were teenagers.

I hope both the docs and God write good reports--for all of you, and me.

UPDATE (Friday 9/17): Some good news. I don't have prostate cancer and the kidney stone lithotripsy treatment went "very well." I'll be peeing blood for a while and have to pee into a screened funnel to catch crunchy stuff (pulverized kidney stones) for the lab to analyze. I have a prescription for Vicodin ( just like Dr. Gregory House) for when it hurts to pee out the crunchies. Blood and crunchies are much better than cancer.

(Photo from

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