Yom Kippur is exactly as long as the davening. If you deal with what the day is supposed to be about, it’s exactly the right length. It’s no coincidence that all the tefillos, stacked end to end, take about a day. And then they stopped adding stuff. They were like, “Okay, it’s Yom Kippur, not Y’mei Kippur.”
So being in shul all day on Yom Kippur is at least a plan. For years, I thought it was hard to be in shul all day when you’re fasting. You stand up, you sit down, you stand up, you sit down, you bend WAY over, you stand up, your paper towels blow away, etc. So I started davening Vasikin, because it meant, “Hey, longer break!” Then I had kids. Talk about a slow day. Plus there’s still the standing and sitting and standing and sitting and bending way over and dealing with paper towels.
How do I carry my arbah minim and my tallis and still make it to shul with everything intact?
It’s simple. Just hold your lulav in one hand and your esrog in another and grab your machzor and tallis and also hold two kids’ hands and push a stroller.
And don’t forget your 10,000-page Artscroll Machzor that somehow gets heavier every year. Are they sneaking into your house and adding pages? Did you maybe accidentally order free updates?
You can try not holding your kids. Like, you can have them run to the corner. But then what happens when you have to cross the street?
“Okay, everyone. Hold my pockets.”
And G-d help you if it’s windy and you have to hold your hat on as well.
My advice is: Take a stroller. Even if you don’t have a baby. The kids hold the stroller, and you can put everything in the stroller. Except the lulav. You still have to awkwardly hold that while pushing the stroller with one hand. Sure, there are people who lay it across the top, but that’s not easy if kids have to walk on either side of you at lulav height.
And if you think it’ll be easier to transport everything to shul on Chol Hamoed just because you have a car, it’s not. There’s no good way to get a lulav into a car. You basically turn your entire back seat into a lulav holder, you can only take one passenger, in the front, and you have to try not to make any left turns, so as not to stub your lulav. Or right turns, if the other guy’s lulav is laying the other way. Maybe you should just take your minivan and fold down the seats.
And getting to shul isn’t your whole issue. It’s not easy to hold all these things for Hoshanos either, except that for Hoshanos, you don’t have to hold your kids’ hands, because you’re not crossing any streets. Unless you have a really popular shul. Also, you get to wear your tallis, and your only concern is making sure it doesn’t suddenly slip off your shoulders so that you have to grab it with your lulav hand. I don’t want to be the guy behind you. Maybe I’ll just quickly circle the bimah ahead of everyone else, and then stand there and wait.
Have a question for “You’re Asking Me?” Just e-mail it. I don’t have any free hands.