At one moment during the solemn Yom Kippur prayer, I almost laughed. The prayer goes, “And return your Divine Presence to Zion.” I imagined the left’s reaction to that event, should it happen.

A fire cloud sits on the Temple Mount, and a leftist prime minister tries to explain to the cloud why there is just no place for the new Temple. “I deeply respect our Jewish God, the founder of Jewish values and a driving force behind interfaith dialogue, but please understand, things are different now. It’s not how you left the place two thousands years ago. We have the Oslo accords—uh, the Palestinians violated and renounced them, but, God, you know we have to abide by them. And we really, really cannot incite the Palestinians by making a Temple for you. Would you settle for a nice plot of land nearby, huh? We would even throw in the building permit and help you with the bureaucratic red tape. Do we have a bargain?”

“The Divine Presence in Zion runs against the assimilators’ values. Jews must be open-minded and cosmopolitan. We must invite other denominations—heck, even gays—to a conference to decide what to do with the odd cloud. Dear God, wait a bit. We scheduled the international forum two months from now. Jews don’t want to look like unscientific, credulous folk, so we will take a sample of the cloud for lab tests. Let’s see what stuff God is made of.

“Now the goal is to refuse political dividends to the religious and right. They shouldn’t be able to use the divine coming for their abominable political ends. Whatever you, God, thought three thousand years ago, today the situation is different, and we expect our God to recognize that. Don’t try to repeat your ancient barbarisms like the conquest of Canaan. We are for tolerance and coexistence even though our enemies don’t share that attitude. Don’t try to lure us with milk and honey: our atheist kibbutzim produce plenty. And don’t threaten us with plagues: we can deal with locusts. We won’t fight for Canaan; we abide by the UN resolutions. What is the UN? Don’t worry, it’s not another god or an image, but a human assembly; your own Torah does not prohibit us from worshiping a human assembly. We revere and worship the UN. And you know what? If you find a bunch of religious renegades among the Jews to observe your commandments and sanctify the land, our army—the fourth-best in the world, keep that in mind—will protect our dispossessed enemies. We must nurture them now, so that they can kill Israelis later.

“One more thing. It’s not nice to ask, but you are omniscient and will understand our concerns. Your presence here is, uh, a bit too provocative. See, we would have to cordon you off so the religious cranks won’t run to the Temple Mount and disturb our good neighbors who would take the occasion to riot and kill a few more Jews. You know, we control the media, and can convince people it’s only a mirage, even a trick by some right-wing provocateurs. The police will spread rumors that you only descended for the summit with the prime minister. We’re going through some hard times now, and, dear God, please don’t burden us with more problems. Leave us for now. See you later.”

On a serious note, we should stop wearing running shoes on Yom Kippur. The prohibition of leather footwear was unrelated to killing animals; leather tefillin are not prohibited. To kill animals out of necessity, such as for food, is not culpable in Judaism. Leather footwear was prohibited on the holiday for penitence, so people wear uncomfortable shoes. Running shoes are too comfortable. Cheap slippers are a possible option.