Tag Archives: rosh hashannah

Rosh Hashannah

Sitting in shul, listening to the awesome chazzan singing his haunting melodies, I was transported back years. Growing up we attended Machzikei Hadas shul in Golders Green, London. Every year Mr David Bakst, may his memory be blessed, was the appointed chazzan for Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur davening. He wasn’t a youngster then, but he was always able to still be standing and davenning for the Amud by Neilah on Yom Kippur.

The tunes that he sang are the default yomtov tunes in my head. They are different tunes from those sang here in most North American shuls that I have attended. He davened with such emotion and longing.

When he did the Tefillah Zacah, the prayer before the Mussaf amidah, where the prayer is  about how awesome a responsibility it is that he has been appointed to represent the congregation – his voiced cracked, and the hairs on our arms stood on end. He made us feel the solemnity of the occasion. Even if one had no knowledge of Hebrew or prayer, one would have felt the right emotions through the power of his voice. One really felt he was communing directly with God. Even as a young child his davenning made a huge impact on my soul. He is someone I will never forget.

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Shana Tovah

Rosh Hashannah has been and gone. I have been busier than anything with all the preparations. I have a few blog posts waiting to be born. Hopefully soon. Right now, I am bidding au revoir to the KoD who was with us for the holiday. He leaves momentarily back to Monsey with my heart firmly tucked in his shirt pocket.

Gmar Chatimah Tovah!

While you are here, why don’t you check out Tips for an Easier Fast – written by the KoD himself, who is a registered dietitian with many years of experience.

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Fair’s fair

I have stopped home for a quick spot of lunch and am running back out again. Got to get all my shopping in so that first thing Thursday morning I can start the cooking and baking marathon for Rosh Hashannah. The KoD will be with us this year – our first Rosh Hashannah together. FTW!! (For The Win)

So apparently there is a tradition, minhag, halacha(?) brought down somewhere (anyone know where?) that a husband has the duty to buy his wife new clothes or new jewellery (or both) for the shalosh regalim – Pesach, Sukkot and Shavuot. I was wondering why men need to be told to do this – surely they appreciate the work we do so much that they would think of this all on their own? My KoD thanks me for all I do and I know he appreciates my hard work. Ok so the thank you doesn’t always come with diamonds attached, but do we really need that? Surely a beautiful bouquet of flowers erev chag, any chag, is enough? (hint hint) Are our husbands letting us down if they don’t bring us gold three times a year? Who has that kind of money? And as for them buying us clothes…. Let me put it this way – give me the money and I will buy it myself. I am sure these husbands know their wives’ taste and size….but drive us to the shops and we will spend the hour or two in each store trying on and discarding until we find the right thing. Put up with it with good grace and you can come with us, otherwise hand over the charge card and just pay the bill when it comes….

Seriously, though, we all work very hard at our jobs, whether outside the home or inside or both. In a traditional marriage the wife does the lion’s share of the cooking and cleaning and child rearing. So yes it is nice for them to be appreciated. But the husbands work darn hard at providing for their families – where is the tradition that they should have something new every holiday? I think there should be a reciprocal or shared arrangement as both parts of the couple contribute to the household in many different ways. Flowers can be appreciated by everyone. Chocolate, liquor, candies etc – for the whole family. the kids should be encouraged to do something that thanks both parents for the hard work put in to making the holidays so enjoyable. A hand made card, being quiet for an hour so the folks can rest, watching younger siblings at the park, clearing the table without being asked. Or they can do what my boys sometimes treat me to – they make me sit at the Shabbat table and don’t allow me to lift a finger and insist on serving.

We don’t need to spend money on saying thank you. We all need to know that we are appreciated.

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Days of Awe

 

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.