Thursday, October 30, 2008

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.


At October 30, 2008 at 5:54:00 AM EDT, Blogger chanie said...

Because the first time is a wake-up call and a shock, and after that it just turns into habit...

At October 30, 2008 at 8:29:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

i like to take rare moments like that as a sign that i'm on the right track, and then continue onwards as if nothing changed. Because if I was on the right track until now which let me get to there, (the experience) i can't let it get to my head, which would derail me.

i guess what i mean to say is, we don't always get to see the results of our actions, but there are always results, if we get carried away when we do see results, we might change the exact behavior which lead to those results :)

in other words, i don't know exactly what just happened, but i know i want more of that, how do i get there? well, what i've been doing until now worked once, it'll most likely work again if i keep it up.

(yes i just repeated myself 3 times)

At October 30, 2008 at 9:43:00 AM EDT, Blogger DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...

I hear what you're saying with this feeling. This is Ratzon Hashem though. Ratzo v'shov. It's a reality we can't get around!

As to your title "As if they had never occured," I saw something intetesting in Bilvavi chelek 5, in the first section, in the chapter on "Ahavas Hashem." He says that whenever we begin something new or start to daven, we should first do a little hisbodedus and ask "Hashem please let what I am about to do be your will, and help me do it *because* it is your will and not for some other reason. And if it is not according to your will, please make what I am about to do as if it never happend."


-Dixie Yid

At October 30, 2008 at 10:34:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might like this (or at least find it intersting):

At October 30, 2008 at 10:37:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was a beautiful post

At October 30, 2008 at 12:49:00 PM EDT, Blogger Neil Harris said...

I totally hear you. After my son and I took down the Sukkah, I said, "Look. It's almost as if the Sukkah was never built.". He asked why I said 'almost'?

I told him that while Hashem could be felt in the Sukkah during the yom tov, it's our job to keep that feeling in our hearts after Sukkos and use the feelings of Sukkos to keep us charged up.

At October 30, 2008 at 3:06:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very beautiful post!

At October 30, 2008 at 5:03:00 PM EDT, Blogger Shorty said...

I can relate - I have recently decided to start praying again. I was remembering what it was like years ago, when I felt connected (see my blog post). I felt loved by G-d at that very moment.

As humans, we have busy minds, and it is so difficult to reach that connectiong, which makes those occurences so very special.


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