Awe – “an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime <stood in awe of the king> <regard nature’s wonders with awe> “, from Merriam Webster’s online dictionary.
Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur are around the corner. These have been called the Days of Awe forever. On these days we stand in front of God and pray to be forgiven our transgressions, and to be blessed with being written in the Book of Life.
Nowadays, the kids come home with lovely songs about dipping apples in honey, and the sounds the shofar makes etc, which gets them involved in the holiday, but as grown ups, do we often stop to think about the AWE of these days? These are some of my thoughts:
My recent trip to Israel, combined with my experiences over the last few years have fused together this year to fill my soul with what I feel is awe. I am so excited and nervous to face the Almighty on Rosh Hashannah. I cannot wait to pray to Him with a full heart, with an open soul. I feel that for perhaps the first time in my life I come to Him ready to receive His decree and to accept it in the spirit in which it is given. My telepathic pathways are open and buzzing with impatience. I have so much I want to say, but more than that, I have so much that I want to understand, that I want to feel, that I want to BE.
I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face as I contemplate the holiness of the days before us. I am thinking about how to improve myself as a person, as a mom, as a daughter, sister, friend. I am wondering what it is that God wants from me, from Hadassah, His child. I want to be the best Hadassah I can be, but I am not sure I even know how. We all know that we have a destiny created for us, and it’s up to us to do our bit to fulfill it, but how? How can we fulfill that when we are not told what it is?
At 120 when I am called before God after my time on this earth He is not going to ask why I wasn’t more like Sarah or Rebecca, Rachel or Leah, our foremothers, nor like Ruth, or Esther or Naomi. No, He will want to know why I wasn’t everything Hadassah should have been. I want, I want so much to be that person that knows who she is and where she is meant to be in her life spiritually. I want to feel that I am accomplishing what I need to as a Bat Yisrael. I want to be everything that’s good and right in this world, so that in my zechut my children, my blessed sons, will be healthy and happy and will have all they need to be God fearing Jews, to observe Hashem’s commandments and to live their life as was pre-ordained for them.
How can I, a simple person, ever hope to achieve the spiritual level that I wish for myself? I am human. I am flawed. I know I have my strengths and my gifts, and I thank God daily for those, but we are told to strive for perfection in our Avodat Hashem – how? How is that even possible in this day and age?
I should be trembling as the shofar blows – I know what teshuvah I need to do, and I am trying to do it. But teshuvah only goes so far – it’s not worth anything unless we continue to work on ourselves and improve. If I tell God that I am sorry that I behaved in a certain way – how can I continue to behave in that way after Yom Kippur? It makes a mockery of the whole thing.
I pray that God gives me strength to do a pure and honest teshuvah, that He blesses me with the internal ability to grow spiritually every day that is given to me.
I wish you all a Ketivah VeChatimah Tovah – may you all be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.