Tuesday, September 21, 2010

וטהר לבנו לעבדך באמת

Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, and I just could not connect.

My whole life revolves around avodas Hashem, and I sat in shul for hours uninspired with the realization that I was allowing precious moments to escape. I tried to focus on just a few words in the Machzor: וטהר לבנו לעבדך באמת ("and purify our hearts to serve You in truth"). I repeated them over and over throughout the course of the day and hoped that Hashem would open my heart to Him before Yom Kippur was over.

....and I continued to sit there as the hours passed, and the sun began to descend.

Neila arrived and I was determined not to let Yom Kippur pass by as if it were just any other day. I put everything I had into my davening and once I reached the words וטהר לבנו לעבדך באמת tears suddenly began to fill my eyes. After two years, I experienced a feeling of Hashem's closeness that I had since longed to re-experience.

I left Yom Kippur this year reinvigorated; energized to face a new year of strengthening my connection to Him and energized to try to bring chizuk to His people.


At September 21, 2010 at 9:04:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

Good to see you back in action here.

I find that it's very hard to induce an emotion during davening. There are moments that the text or something happening strikes me a certain way to arouse a spontaneous intense feeling. There are other moments that don't have that effect, even if similar moments did so at times in the past. Some specific mental images are inspiring sometimes, but not always.

Anyway, how important is our subjective feeling about our davening? It's possible to fool oneself or not to properly understand what's happening. Maybe we don't clearly know the link that a specific service has to changes we subsequently make in our thinking or behavior. These changes, in the end, are the main thing.

At September 21, 2010 at 8:04:00 PM EDT, Blogger Dan said...

Welcome back. When you were writing constantly a year and a half ago, this was one of my favorite blogs. I'm glad that I never de-bookmarked you, and I look forward to more great posts

At September 21, 2010 at 8:15:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Glad to see you both made it back!

At September 21, 2010 at 11:11:00 PM EDT, Blogger Unknown said...

What a long absence. I was an avid reader of your blog who missed your penimiusdik discussions that parellel so much of my own journey. I've finally met the Sudilkover this year as he's become very close with my rebbe, and we've shared a few seudos together. Wow! When the two of them are together it's incredible. Welcome back, and I look forward to reading more insights on avodas Hashem.

I spoke with my rebbe a few years ago about my inability to concentrate during yamim noraim, and he told me that I should remind myself that during tefilla, my specific avoda at that time was to daven. I was distracted by many "organizational" issues as I was responsible for setting up the davening. If something needed attending to, that should be my avoda; but once it was taken care of, let it go and let my avoda be to daven. He also told me that his grandfather would daven with a copy of the Kedushas Levi on his shtender. I found this to be a singularly powerful experience, especially on Yom Kippur.

At September 22, 2010 at 12:23:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Long Beach Chasid said...

R.H. and Y.K. were EPIC for me. The Davening, niggunim, the chazon, EVERYTHING. I really do love the Lubavitch niggunim for Y.K. and it was beyond amazing. I really felt that Moshiach was going to burst through the door and say "Shkoyach! You finally did it!" It also hit me like a ton of bricks that I cant just be jazzed up about Y.K. and walk away. I need to figure out how to grow this year and change for the better.

At September 22, 2010 at 6:16:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

ekusnetz: Thank you for your warm words. I am thrilled to hear that you were able to meet the Sudilkover Rebbe. May I ask who your Rebbe is?

LBC: Great to hear from you again!

At September 26, 2010 at 6:45:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

I'm also on a big hiatus from blogging, but for me it's usually a niggun that somehow arouses me during the Yamim Noraim, and indeed, other parts of the year too.
For many years, it was just the mere intonation at the beginning of Ma'ariv on RH and/or YK that would get to me. Other times, the tune for the Kaddish right before Musaf struck me very deeply. I must admit that both of those have a "nostalgic effect" on me, as they take me back to my youth & davening with my father & grandfather in Shul on these days.
In fact, this year it was the tune for "Salachti," on YK night that struck me, & I actually felt my father's presence for most of that piece!
Chag Sukkos Sameach, and welcome back!


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