Rosh Hashanah Prayer

We have just celebrated yet another Rosh Hashanah, and as we have just entered a new year, I thought I would take the opportunity to start blogging again! šŸ™‚Ā I had someĀ of those high and inspired moments during the prayer in the synagogue on the mornings of Rosh Hashanah, and I remember thinking afterwards that I should share this on my blog, – so here we go!

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Our Rosh Hashanah table this year

Rosh Hashanah is the first of the Jewish fall high holidays, and it comes after a month of spiritual preparation, where we as a people and as individuals draw closer to God. We hear the Shofar-blows as wake-up-calls to remember why we are here, who we belong to, where we came from and where we are headed.

Then we get to Rosh Hashanah, to the feast of Trumpets. This is a two day holiday which is largely spent in prayer at the synagogues. And there is something so special about liturgical prayers, – it links us all together in such an amazing way! The depth of these prayers, these scriptures and songs, fills my heart and gets me to feel so excited about being alive and being a part of THIS!

At our synagogue we had several services going on simultaneously. Such a large part of Am Yisrael, the people of Israel, come out for this, that we need to expand. So as we came in, some people who had started earlier, were praying downstairs, and we heard their shofar-blows and singing. Later, those of us upstairs split up into two groups, and we went downstairs to continue with the second half of the service there, but we could still hear the prayer going onĀ upstairs.

And then to think of the fact that all over Jerusalem, all over Israel, people are praying these same prayers at this holy, set apart time! And in different time zones in different locations, Jews all over the world are praying these exact same prayers, in the same language on this special holiday! Wow! I am thankful to be alive, and to get to spend my life taking part in these types of experiences!

Just listen to some of these prayers:

Remember us for life, O King who desires life, and write us in the book of life – for your sake, o God of life! King, Helper, Savior, Shield: Blessed are You, LORD, Shield of Abraham!

And so may Your name be sanctified, LORD our God, through Israel Your nation and Jerusalem Your city, and Zion, the dwelling place of Your honor…

In the book of life, blessing, peaceĀ and prosperity, and good decrees, salvations and consolations may we and all Your people the house of Israel be remembered andĀ written before You for a good life, and for peace. Blessed are You, LORD, who blesses His people Israel withĀ peace.

AND YOU ARE KING -THE LIVING, EVERLASTING GOD!

Oh, how our voices went upwards together as we cried out:

This day, may You strengthen us…

This day, may You bless us…

To join ones voices together with the ones in the same room, hearing the people above, below, the people in the neighboring synagogue, hearing Shofar-blows all over Jerusalem, – it is a quite heavenly experience! When all these houses of prayer are filled to the brim, with hardly any standing room left even! What a privilege to get to take part in it! To actually have a seat in the midst of it!

And then we prayed together:

As is written: I shall bring them to My holy mountain, and I shall have them rejoice in My house of prayer; their offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted, desired on My altar, for My House will be called a house of prayer for all peoples…

How exciting it is to be alive! And the year we have just entered is 5777. So many sevens! A number symbolizing perfection. And the letter for the number 5 in Hebrew, is Hey, which is often used for HaShem, the God of Israel. He is Perfect, – over and over again! Always! May that be proclaimed wide and far this year!

I find myself having high expectations for this year. May we all faithfully take our parts in the great things that are happening in our time!

 

 

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Tu B’Shvat Sameach!

Here we are again at this tiny, little holiday, another new-year of sorts in the middle of the Jewish month, Shvat. The moon is beautiful these nights, I have been noticing. – I just LOVE how the moon and the months grow and get renewed together in the Jewish calendar.

gardening

So, – the name of this little holiday is “Tu B’Shvat”, which literally means “The fifteenth day of the month of Shvat”. It is also called “The new year for the trees”, and this really points to the meaning of the holiday. This is the day from which we start counting the fruit in relation to tithing, which of course was most relevant in the times when we still had a Temple to bring the tithes to. (But it is still the time of the year when we start counting the sabbatical year for the trees, which is coming up, actually.) We are in the middle of winter, the trees have all finished their fruit-bearing season, and it is too early for even the earliest ones to have started yet. So it is a good time to count fruit from.

gardening

This day is celebrated by eating lots of fruits of the trees, – in particular dried fruits as traditionally one did not have all that much fresh fruit during this time of the year. In particular we focus on the seven species, which my name (Te’ena=fig) is one of too. šŸ™‚ (But still, I have to admit, my favorite is dried mangos. ;-))

dried fruit

Another very traditional way of celebrating Tu B’Shvat is to plant a tree. We have done that at times too, like the year when we planted the Almond-tree in our garden. And even though we donĀ“t always plant an actual tree, we just about every year do some gardening in relation to Tu B’Shvat. And this year is no exception.

gardening

Since it is still so early, and we are hoping for more winter still to come, I didnĀ“t want to make a too big investment in the garden yet, but the amount doesnĀ“t really matter. A few new plants. A reason to start digging. Getting a little dirty. Doing something different. Enjoying working in the garden. Oh, it is all so so healthy in every way!

gardening

The children had a really good time with it. There was so much positive energy going around!

dirty knees

Another little tradition we have for this time of the year, is that we like to make a trip out in the mountains surrounding Jerusalem to experience some real nature, and see some almond blossoms. We have not made it out there yet, and the almond trees are actually far from blossoming, as far as I have heard. Hopefully we will make it out there one of those days, and when we do, I will let you know all about it! For now, – Tu B’Shvat Sameach! – Happy Tu B’Shvat!!