In a Rosh Hashana State of Mind
I want to do at least one last post before Rosh Hashana*. I am trying--between job searching on the web, real job fairs and virtual job fairs--to keep up my posts as much as possible, but it's very difficult (Jewish guilt plays a part here). I was awakened this morning by my chayelet bodedah* daughter, not really too early for me (except tor the fact that I had been awake until 2 a.m. the night before...); we had a great conversation and talked for over 40 minutes (it's her shekel!) It was wonderful. Even though I am so missing my kids not being with us for the chagim*, we do have guests, and have to finalize our menu and confirm everyone, and possibly also shop for ingredients for challot (which I will bake; round has GOT to easier than braided), traditional sweet side dishes such as carrot and sweet potato tzimmes and desserts-and, of course, food for Shabbat.
Baruch Hashem, we have our main dishes for the upcoming chagim, for we are blessed with the best type of friends who are tzadikim*; they have and are contuing to help us in our financial dilemmas (- you know who you are; שתזכי למצוות -and you'd better be fluent in Ivrit* next time I see you, את שומעת?!)
It is still the month of Elul*, but getting into the cheshbon ha-nefesh* mode a month before Rosh Hashana, for me, is difficult. Being glued to the computer all day doesn't help. So, in order to 'help me along' a little, while I am writing this I am listening to a wonderful audio shiur* on the High Holy Days by Rabbi Avraham Trugman, which you can access here. Take the time, while you are checking your email, or researching your holiday recipes--to listen to, at least, these two audio shiurim* on the Chagim.
These shiurim will go a long way, by encouraging you to review your attitudes and actions over the past year and prepare for Yom haDin*, to get you into the frame of mind to be a better human being and Jew, and do teshuvah,* which we all need to do, as nobody's perfect (except for me of course on alternate Thursdays...).
No matter what existential questions I may still have, Judaism's deep and meaningful ancient traditions and explanations of life always fill a void and create for me an unparallelled beauty. For example, Rosh Hashana is not merely an arbitrary date chosen as the beginning of counting yet another year; instead, it is traditionally thought of as an earthly 'anniversary' of G-d's creation of the world and mankind, a time of rebirth and renewal--and personal judgement.
Judaism is one of the most introspective religions I know: we are always questioning our attitudes, behaviors and motives, (at least traditionally we are; unfortunately from what I hear is going on in some communities, some of us have lost that ability to question our own motives; yir'at ha-ba'alabatim* has replaced yir'at Shamayim*...).
The truth is, at this time of the year especially, I wish I were here:
But since I can't be (this time), at least I can think of my children in the Promised Land, and here in galut*, I can revel in the awesomeness of this time of year, and in the depths of the language that I love, Ivrit*.
Here is a video of one of Rabbi Trugman's Torah shiurim - a mystical view of G-d's creation of the world through the Hebrew letters; very appropriate on the eve of Rosh Hashana. Listen carefully. It makes our mere physical life on this planet so much more meaningful. Ktivah ve-chatimah tovah.*
Rosh Hashana: Jewish New Year
Chayelet Bodedah: lone soldier (a soldier not having parents in the country)
chagim: holidays; here referrring to the High Holidays
Tzadikim: righteous people
Elul: the 6th Hebrew month coming before Tishrei, the month of Rosh Hashana
Cheshbon haNefesh: an accounting of the soul
Yom haDin: Day of Judgement
Yir'at ha-ba'alabatim: fear of the wealthy influential ones in the community
Yir'at Shamayim: fear of Heaven
Galut: the diaspora
Ktivah ve-chatimah tovah: expression said around the time of the High Holidays: "may you be written and sealed [in the book of life for a good year."
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