As If They Had Never Occurred
Rebbe Shmelke of Nikolsburg taught that at the conclusion of Tishrei every Jew should ask himself where he is now. He must also ask himself how it is that he has already forgotten Rosh Hashana, the Aseres Yemei Teshuva, Yom Kippur, Sukkos, Shemini Atzeres, and Simchas Torah, and it is as if they had never occurred.
Reflecting on this concept, I have to acknowledge the truth in this tzaddik's words since I too have already begun to experience this forgetfulness.
The first words of Avinu Malkeinu after Shachris on the first day of Rosh Hashana hit me like they had never hit me before.
Once I reached these words, I felt myself choking up.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ שְׁמַע קולֵנוּ, חוּס וְרַחֵם עָלֵינוּ
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ קַבֵּל בְּרַחֲמִים וּבְרָצון אֶת תְּפִלָּתֵנוּ
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ פְּתַח שַׁעֲרֵי שָׁמַיִם לִתְפִלָּתֵנוּ
"Our Father, our King, hear our voice, have pity and compassion upon us."
"Our Father, our King, accept our prayers with mercy and with favor."
"Our Father, our King, open that gates of heaven to our prayer."
And then I reached this line...
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ תְּהֵא הַשָּׁעָה הַזּאת שְׁעַת רַחֲמִים וְעֵת רָצון מִלְּפָנֶיךָ
"Our Father, our King, may this hour be an hour of mercy and a time of favor before you."
I started crying and tears streamed down my face. Unembarrassed, I did not even try to wipe them away. I felt as if I was so close to Hashem at that very moment; that His complete attention was focused upon me. It was overpowering and comforting all at once.
Since the first day of Rosh Hashana, I have never able to recreate this special experience. While there certainly have been times when I feel that I am davening with a real connection, there have been numerous occasions since Rosh Hashana when I am ashamed to say that I mindlessly mumble words without focusing on the One that I am addressing them to. During these times, it is as if I have forgotten everthing.
As I venture out of month Tishrei and into the rest of the year, I daven that I can once again daven to Hashem with this feeling of closeness and that it may continues to increase with every passing day.