From joy to joy…

Yom Kippur ended only a few hours ago. I don´t have any photos to show you from this most amazing day (since I keep Shabbat, Yom Tov and obviously Yom Kippur, I among other things don´t use a camera on days like that), but my head is full of fresh mental pictures of quiet car-free streets full of pedestrians and biking children in the middle of the streets. And we all greet each other – Gmar Chatima Tova! – May your name be written in the book of life Tell me, where else does this type of thing happen??

Fresh in my mind is the experience of walking around the neighborhood watching my two dear children on their skateboard and scooter down the street ahead of me, while in my heart praying with the rest of our people Almighty God, please save us! Have mercy on us! Please bring us Life! Please bring us Your Revelation! Then a few hours later, standing in the middle of a huge crowd at the Western Wall, singing with all those around me: Avinu Malkeinu, ase imanu tzdaka ve chesed… ve hoshieinu! – Our Father, Our King, show us mercy and grace… and save us! It all reached it´s top with the great shofar-blows at the end, and you feel yourself overwhelmed with relief, much like if you just finished a marathon… We did it! Baruch Ata Shehechianu…

Considering that Yom Kippur is a strict fast day, it may not be thought of as such a joyful day, but Rabbi Riskin reminded me that it actually is, if you just stop to think about what happens on this day… – Our whole people takes a break and turns towards God and beg Him for forgiveness and salvation! And He forgives us! What greater reason for joy is there?!


So when I titled this, from joy to joy, Yom Kippur is one of the joys. The next one that we move straight on to, is the building of the sukah! After we have gotten some food and not the least drink in our bodies, we start building our sukahs, – and we can hear the neighbors doing the very same thing! (I´m telling you, there is no place like Yerushalayim!) We just put up the walls and part of the roof tonight, and will add more roof and decorations during the next coming days. So the joy just gets bigger and bigger! And then we move out there Sunday night, for our yearly Sukkot-Camping! These are good times! Life is so good!

Chag sameach to you all! Enter into the JOY!



9 thoughts on “From joy to joy…

  1. - says:

    What a wonderful description of life in the Holy City!

  2. Ulli says:

    You are such a gifted writer! Great that you use it that way!

  3. Theresa Hohman says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words. Great blog – keep writing!

    I am writing to ask permission to use your entry (about the last night in the sukkah) in a class I am teaching on Judaism. You’ve captured it beautifully.

    I studied Comparative Religion at the University of Washington and have a deep love for people and the highest respect for the world’s great religions. Judaism is beautiful – rich in ritual, prayer and tradition. You capture its essence in your writing.

    I visited Israel once for a month and reading your blog brings back the wonderful sights and sounds.


  4. Mechelle B. says:

    I just found your blog and really enjoy your insight into the Holy City! I see where you have a picture of the Western Wall, Kotel during Hanukkah. Can you tell me if you know of a time during this past Hanukkah (2012) or at any time in the past where any official has ever closed the Wall to the prayers of the public? Someone told me that the Wall was closed for 7 days during this past Hanukkah, just wondering if this was correct. Thanks so much for your insight! Mechelle

    • Te'ena says:

      Thank you for your comment, Mechelle! In general the Wall is always open for people to come there to pray. There are exceptions, such as special ceremonies or an occasional renovation. But I don’t know of any such thing during this past Hanukkah, – and I was there several times, so for sure it was not closed for any extended period of time! 🙂

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