Sunday, September 24, 2006

On Rosh Hashanah it is written. On Yom Kippur, it is sealed.

Rosh Hashanah has ended. This is my favorite of the religious holidays. Purim is my favorite for fun, but this is my favorite for religious significance.

In 2001, Rosh Hashanah fell just days after September 11th. I openly wept during that service. Ever since then, I get teary during certain portions of the service.

This tore at my heart back then and still does even today:

"We pause in terror before the human deed; The cloud of annihilation, the concentrations for death, The cruelly casual way of each to each. But in the stillness of this hour We find our way from darkness into light." (Gates of Repentance pg 118)

Today was no different. I found myself unable to finish reading aloud in several places. Here's one of the responses that choked me up because it made me think of dh:

"Holy is the sacrifice made for those we love; precious the pains they take for us." (pg 180)

as did this:

"Avinu, Malkeinu (our Father, our King), make an end to sickness, war, and famine." (190).

I choked on the word, "War." I have for the past 4 years.

Another portion that continues to resonate with me five years later is this:

"We pray for all who hold positions of leadership and responsibility in our national life. Let Your blessing rest upon them, and make them responsive to Your will, so that our nation may be to the world an example of justice and compassion.

Deepen our love for our country and our desire to serve it. Strengthen our power of self-sacrifice for our nation's welfare. Teach us to uphold its good name by our own right conduct.

Cause us to see clearly that the well being of our nation is in the hands of all its citizens: imbue us with zeal for the cause of liberty in our own land and in all lands; and help us always to keep our homes safe from affliction, strife, and war. Amen
." (Gates of Repentance, Prayer For Our Nation and Its Rulers pgs 218-219)

Sorry to beat you over the head with the prayer book, but I always get reflective during the High Holidays. I'm doing it even more so with dh gone.

And so, on this Rosh Hashanah, I'll leave you all with another bit of wisdom from Gates of Repentence:

As we turn from thoughts of death to tasks of life, may we, like those who came before us, be builders of G-d's kingdom, a world of justice and joy.

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