Disclaimer: this post is a “duby rant.” Its basically one run-on sentence 🙂 If you offend easily, you might want to consider skipping this post 🙂 (or maybe I just made it sound more exciting?) Long story short – it’s a little more harsh than my usual niceness.. hehe.
Did you get “high” on the high holidays? Hahah I love that line and use it at every opportunity I can – so I ask you – my dear readers “did you get high on the high holidays?” medications and ahem, plants aside – of course I am referring to those awe inspiring feelings we get when we are faced with Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. The days when G-d holds our fate in His hands … the day G-d writes in his little black book all the dirty little mischievous plans he has in store for us … “how about a Tornado this year and knock down a couple of trees??” “ooh maybe a car crash!!!” (insert evil sinister laughter here….ha ha ha )
Talk about Jewish Guilt!
So you got like 2 days to pray your heart out …. Cry from the depths of your soul, fall on hands and knees and pray to the One above for a year of health and goodness – that you make it another year – as does your loved ones (and as for the rest of em – ehh – who cares 😉 ….
Reciting Unisaneh Tokef is surely the most terrifying and traumatizing prayer of them all. Spilled out in black and white: Will you die? Will you live?— and if you die — maybe it will be a plague? Maybe by fire? Maybe by stoning? Gosh – talk about putting the fear into the hearts of the people! (that can make anyone pee in their pants!)
Ok so we all know RH and YK are designed to scare the crap out of us (quite literally) … so what happens when you are unable to tremble with fear and put the awe in the awesome?
Consider the following scenarios ….
These are true stories that I’ve heard people experience in the past with regards to the High holy days.
A: You’re newly pregnant and you’re puking your guts out. Sure, you try to focus on the machzor and prayers – until it’s time to puke again… and by that time, you’re ready to pass out and need to lie down.
B: You’re not pregnant anymore (yay!!) but now, you’re a new mommy – the baby is a few months old … or maybe even a year or two. Your baby is FINALLY able to walk to Shul and you FINALLY feel you will be able to sit in Shul and feel like a real holy Yid and pray your guts out (not to be confused with puking your guts out) – and you’re thrilled …..
LO and behold – you pack your stroller with provisions …snacks, bottles, diapers, pacifiers and all other stuff you need to keep your toddler happy so you can steal a few moments alone with G-d. You make it to Shul FINALLY – you get a machzor – straighten your skirt, sit down … when,… uh oh – kid needs a new diaper … or kid gets hungry … or cranky… or bored. An even better situation is when the droning Rabbi startles the kid and she freaks out which means it must be removed from the sanctuary before the stares turn into glares…..and once again you miss the whole davening – – barely making it for Shofar (if your kid allows you to remain in Shul that long)
Ok … so maybe that was a bit extreme – I wouldn’t know since I don’t have a kid. (although from what my mommy friends tell me – it doesn’t sound that far off)
C: scenario C is my favorite …. Just because you’re NOT a mom …. Or NOT even married, doesn’t mean a guaranteed “high” holiday. Maybe you ate that delicious head of fish on the first night of Yom tov – but joyful joyful – your mom didn’t know how to cook that weird type of fish – (trout perhaps?) … and you find yourself over the toilet bowl the entire first night of Yom Tov – making it impossible to make the trek to Shul over the holiday…. Do you feel like crap? Sure … but what’s worse – is that feeling that you didn’t have that “perfect” high holiday with the “perfect” davening … and the “perfect” prayers for your new year.
So are you screwed? (insert evil laughter again….. ha ha ha)
Ok ok … so MAYBE MAYBE you’re scenario looked very different this past year. Try this one on for size:
Maybe you’re that friend of mine (you know who you are 😉 ) who was able to travel back home for Yom Tov – to enjoy the holidays with her family … and to spend ALL day in the beautiful Shul, listening to the beautiful Davening and pouring out her heart and soul beseeching G-d for a good new year with brochos. So maybe that was you this year…
Or maybe, as the married woman example, you finagled (aka bribed, begged, and eventually threatened) your sister to watch your baby – so you were able to make it to Shul for Neilah to feel some semblance of high holiday spirit.
The Aibishter is NOT Santa!!
My sister in law tells me how she taught her preschoolers about how HaShem judges us during Elul and Tishrei so we need to be on our BEST behavior because HE is watching …. Well, somehow this all sounds like Stewie Griffin’s gripe with the whole Santa Claus concept … “he sees you when you are sleeping” — but the Aibishter is NOT Santa …. So that means if you’re mean to your friend (and you’re 5 years old) then you won’t be getting that shiny new red bike you wanted… (or a happy new year for that matter) – somehow there’s a lot more riding on these high holiday prayers than behaving during Christmas season for that shiny new bike … hmmm…..
I don’t know about you, but to me this doesn’t even come CLOSE to be considered Jewish guilt — this is pressure way beyond – like no one’s ever seen!! We are basically told (in oh so many words) that our entire year is based on our thoughts, actions, how we eat, how much we sleep (lest we have a “sleepy” year) – and how much and well we Daven……
And any moment — we step out — that lightning bolt will strike us dead right there on the spot. (sounds exciting no?) But you know what makes me laugh the most? ITS NOT JUST ME THAT BELIEVES THIS WAY! Many of my friends felt the exact same way when it comes to the Yomim Noraim – that G-d will literally strike us down if dare not to be extra super careful.
If you are still following my rant – I give you a) kudos for still staying with me and b) wonder if I have convinced you yet to convert to a nicer religion (I’m leaning towards Buddhism – not that you asked but I thought id share… oh and do me a favor and not tell my husband I said that. He comes from a family of Rabbis :):):))
My point here people is …. Well…. I better figure it out before its time to get high again!!!!!!!!!!!
Hope you survived this year’s days of awe. We can breathe out (knowing they’re over – but who knows what was REALLY written in those books of life up there?) … and now we can enjoy Sukkos hoping and believing that G-d will accept our prayers no matter what Shul we Davened in…. or if we Davened in our pajamas — or if we snuck in a few words of Davening in between changing dirty diapers – or in between puking in the toilet bowl (for those that apply to that scenario, and if you do, we hope you waited till after you left the bathroom to do your praying :):))
Thank G-d they’re over …. And here is to a Gmar Gmar Gmar Chasimah Tovah – a year of health, happiness, joy and success for all our loved ones (ourselves as well) and now with Simchas Torah coming up — time to party!!!!!!!!