New Year’s is More Important than Shabbat

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Matthue just read the title of this post and passed out.

New Year’s is always a weird time for me. Lately, I haven’t really cared about it that much. I mean, it was cold out on Wednesday. It was cold out on Thursday. That’s really all I care about. I really only go out on New Year’s to avoid taking Prozac for my lonliness.

But I haven’t always felt this way. I guess it’s engrained into kid’s minds that New Year’s is the most important thing in the world, probably because it is an opportunity to stay up until Midnight (or beyond).

Now, I’ve mentioned before that I love television. Shockingly, my parents are the opposite. They don’t really watch at all (Ironically enough, though, the year I move to New York, they buy a huge plasma TV. I guess they wanted to see Wolf Blitzer’s beard in HD). So asking to make special occasions to watch television is a pretty tough sell.

Then came Friday December 31, 1999.

New Year’s had fallen on Shabbat before. And it has since. We just pretended that New Year’s wasn’t a big deal that year. But 2000 was different. The Millennium was coming. Everyone was scared of Y2K. We did not want to be left in the dark while a nuclear holocaust was happening.

Somehow we (my brothers) convinced our parents to leave the TV on for all of Shabbat (Shabbat afternoon is much shorter with College Football on).

Are we bad Jews? Probably. Was it worth it? As a 13 year old, yeah it was. Would my parents ever let that slide again? Hell no.

I really wrote this because I’m wondering what other Shomer Shabbat people did that night. Are we alone in our sins?

Posted on January 2, 2009

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2 thoughts on “New Year’s is More Important than Shabbat

  1. llennhoff

    In 1999 I wasn’t yet Shomer Shabbat, but I was absolutely religiously strict on the fact that the 21st Century wasn’t beginning for another year. So I feel that if I had been shomer shabbat back then I would not have done anything special for 12/31/99 – 1/1/00

  2. matthue

    OK, since you called me out, I guess I have to dish.

    I’d just become observant in, what, ’99? end of ’98? I was living in DC, and there was a huge concert with Will Smith, Philly’s own Fresh Prince, headlining. I desperately wanted to see my fellow Philadelphian. After Shabbos dinner at a stranger’s house, a bunch of us went wandering around the National Mall, and you couldn’t see anything. You could barely hear anything. I was vaguely aware Will Smith was onstage, but I couldn’t tell whether he was singing “Men in Black,” “Willennium,” or even “Girls of the World (Ain’t Nothing but Trouble).” Then a friend and I headed to the top of my new building, where I’d just moved in, which was the tallest building around to sit and peacefully drink warm wine while we watched all the power go out and the spirit of the Sabbath take over the city. That never happened — the power outage, at least — but it was still a good Shabbos.

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