Rosh Hashanah Thoughts

The Jewish New Year approaches and I cannot help but wonder what the year will bring. Every year I wonder about this, because I like to know what is going to happen. Then again I also enjoy surprises.

But I find this time of year to be particularly challenging for many reasons, more than I care to elaborate on right now. So let's focus on one and that is davening. I find it very tough to do so and to do so at length.

One might ask how often I daven, am I familiar with the various brachas and tehillim, do I wrap tefillin daily etc. The answer is that I am someone who kind of dances around the derech, or so that is how it was phrased to me.

But without feeling that connection to Hashem consistently it makes it hard to engage in thoughtful dialogue. And it is not that I need an immediate response, I just need to work on the spiritual tuning fork and that is something that I find challenging.

In certain places I can tune in instantly. The beach, mountains and various other locations have always made it easier to focus.

But when I am in shul it sometimes feels like I am being disingenuous because I get distracted. And I cannot always blame others. It doesn't necessarily matter whether I daven in a shul with a mechitzeh or without.

For me it works best when I daven with people who are moved by davening and who really are engaged. I can get caught up and tune in. This is not to say that I cannot do so without help, it just means that I find it to be one of my challenges.

I'd also like to add that I have found that when my son hides in my tallis I cannot help but smile. It also serves as a spiritual tuning fork. I cannot look at my children without knowing that there is something greater than I in the universe.

I wonder what this year will bring.........


Anshel's Wife said...

Have you tried Chabad? You have it bigtime in LA. Black hats can really get into daven. The shuckling, the singing, the banging on the table. I love it. Gets my kids motivated, too. Even my husband, who spent most of his life under Soviet rule, gets into it.

But I do know what you mean. Being a mommy, I'm focused on taking care of the kids, so that the Tatty can daven. When I do get the opportunity to be in shul, my mind wanders. Needs to settle in and by that time, someone is up from a nap or is hungry.

I believe if you open up your heart and soul to G-d on Rosh Hashanah, He's going to listen. Even if it is for a short time.

L'shana tova.

Stacey said...

My sister and I were discussing this very thing last night. In spite of being an active member of her shul and attending Shabbat services fairly regularly, she often ends up feeling very disconnected during the High Holy Days.

I am the opposite. I love this time of year. I love all of the tradition, meaning, and new beginnings. I love the apples and honey. I love doing tashlich. I love listening to the soulful chanting of the Kol Nidre, which helps me focus and makes me feel so connected with G-d and myself.

Do not feel badly about the challenges you feel when in shul during the Days of Awe. The G-d I believe in understands such challenges and is there to listen to you no matter where you are or what day of the year it is.

Jack Steiner said...

Thank you both, I appreciate it.

Shana Tova

Just Me said...

I'm intrigued. Not being Jewish, I haven't a clue what davening is or what shul's about. But it sounds mystical and sort of good. I wish you well for New Year.

Jack Steiner said...

Thanks for the good wishes. "Davening" refers to praying and you can think of "shul" as being the synagogue.

Almost 20 years

Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of this spot. Hard to believe, not many have kept going since then. I have barely kept up...