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If the world ends on Friday – what about my challah?

People, this Mayan end game is going to mess with Shabbat!
(illustrative image credit: Andris Torms / Shutterstock)
(illustrative image credit: Andris Torms / Shutterstock)

Forget the after-Christmas sales this year. Despite a thoroughly debunked interpretation of the ancient Mayan calendar, the end-of-the-worlders are sticking with their prediction that the apocalypse will happen, that the big shalom will come, on December 21, 2012.

So many people are caught up in our December demise that even NASA has had to devote a page of their website to explaining “Why the World Won’t End.”

Still, a geshrai about the end of the earth does have a familiar Jewish ring to it – a little like Tisha B’Av, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Un’taneh Tokef from Yom Kippur – only with December 21 it’s who by meteor strike, who by polar shift, and who by Planet X.

So, just to be on the safe side – one never knows – if there are any Hanukkah gifts you want to return, I suggest getting to the stores early.

Not to take this dire prediction too personally, but besides dramatically reducing the time I will have to return that deluxe wine aerator (Sorry, Uncle Joe), December 21 is the date of my wedding anniversary. The world has to end then? Couldn’t the Mayans have found a better date? My in-laws usually send a really nice gift.

(illustrative image credit: Andris Torms / Shutterstock)
(illustrative image credit: Andris Torms / Shutterstock)

Adding insult to injury, on the day the world is supposed to go kaboom, besides interfering with my simchah, it’s also a Friday. People, this Mayan end game is going to mess with Shabbat – a day that is supposed to be only a time-out, not a black out.

What about my challah?

The problem isn’t with lighting the candles. On that day, since it’s the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, candle lighting time will hopefully beat the big bang. It’s all the citywide-sized sinkholes, falling debris, and other unspecified “veys mere” in the atmosphere that undoubtedly will start falling during dinner that I just know will ruin a perfectly good bowl of soup.

Not that I want to be too pushy here, but can’t we reschedule? Can’t doomsday be on a Thursday like Thanksgiving? I mean, when it comes to calendaring, don’t we get tired of every organization on earth (sometimes it seems) forgetting our holy days. Graduations, college finals, SAT’s, baseball playoff games, all seem to be unvaryingly scheduled on Jewish days of joy and rest. Just this once, can’t the date-setters cut us some slack?

It’s not like I’m asking to reschedule Christmas. Come to think of it, won’t that have to be done as well? (Or maybe everyone will put an end to the December dilemma this year and just celebrate Hanukkah.)

Like any holiday, we will want some extra time to prepare, make it nice, and not need to run off to wait the end in some dreary desert bunker. After all, we have experience in this area – weren’t Noah and his family, the original doomsday preppers?

Since that end-of-world story ended with a rainbow, Jews, I think, would prefer to take a wait and see attitude with this one: Start a tzimmes, put the cholent on, dig a hole and plant a tree. But just to cover our bets, getting in some shopping at the “End-of-the world” sales, wouldn’t hurt either.

Given an extra week or two, Jewish newspapers would have time to run “Final Days” supplements. Editorial space would open for timely sections filled with commentaries like: “Doomsday – Good for Israel, or Bad?” as well as pages and pages of “End-of-the-World” cruise specials.

With a big ka-blooey date change, there would also be one more Shabbat for rabbis to get in one more sermon on adult education, “It’s never too late,” and Jewish organizations to do some tikkun olam fundraising.

The Mayans won’t mind a date change. Builders of elaborate stone ball courts for team competition, who undoubtedly had to deal with hurricane rainouts, you would think they would understand a make-up date. Maybe they even invented it.

As for my anniversary? Not that I believe any of this stuff, but if you plan on stopping by with a gift, we don’t need any crockery or glassware. How about a generator?

About the Author
Edmon J. Rodman writes on Jewish life from Los Angeles. Contact him at edmojace@gmail.com.