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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New year, new beginnings.

We have just celebrated Rosh Hashanah, which many people call the Jewish New Year. But really, we are celebrating the creation of Adam, not of Avraham, so in a sense it is a New Year for all of humanity!

Pomegranats from our own garden.

Pomegranats from our own garden for Rosh Hashanah.

Either way, it is a great time for new beginnings, so I thought maybe I would take the opportunity to start blogging again. I have missed it, and have written many a blog post in my head, that just never made it to the blog… So here is to hoping for a new start! šŸ™‚

Our Rosh Hashanah table.

Our Rosh Hashanah table.

We had a very good Rosh Hashanah celebration. Of course I really enjoyed the preparations too, – there are so many good times involved! Expectation and preparation, cooking and baking, planning and decorating!

Making Challah napkin rings.

Making Challah napkin rings. The round challot symbolize the cycle of the end of one year and the beginning of a new one.

I very much enjoyed doing a several of these things together with my nine year old daughter this year. She really took ownership and wanted to be involved!

Preparing lots and lots of challot together.

Preparing lots and lots of challot together.

And then as we sit around the decorated table, going through all the traditional blessings and prayers, I try to totally LIVE and be present in the moment. To really taste the apple dipped in honey, and to say each blessing for the new year with intent. I take in the smells and the tastes, looking at the sights of the dear ones around me, friends and family, people so dear to my heart. And you know, to keep it real, it is never all perfect, – however much you prepare, you cannot totally plan how people are going to behave and react. Again a reminder of what LIFE is really all about, – a complex mixture of everything, and our goal is to be able to navigate our own ship with wisdom and love along with the ones who we are to travel together with.

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As I look back on this two-day holiday, I have a lot to be thankful for. So many good memories added to the already abundant collection! Good times and conversations with dear friends, along with yummy cups of coffee or glasses of wine. Time to sit back and play with my children. Good food, and plenty of food. As the host I always seem to have a little worry that there is not going to be enough food, especially when there are two-day holidays like this one. My husband reminds me that we always have way too much, but each time anew I have this little thought that maybe this time will be the first time when we will actually run out of food… But again, – we had so much that we had to start giving away leftovers!

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One of the highlights was being at the synagogue and hearing the Shofar-blasts. On the first day we went somewhere where they invite the children to come to the front and blow their shofars. Ours had been practicing a bit during the month of Elul, and it was a joy to see and hear them taking an active part in the holiday in this way. The biblical name of this holiday is really “The Feast of the Trumpets” (shofars), so no wonder they are central! The shofar blast is meant to be a wake-up-call to repentance and a reminder to make things right with God and fellow man at this time, leading up to Yom Kippur.

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Another special moment was doing Tashlich, which we did on the first afternoon of the holiday. We are blessed to live in Jerusalem, and therefore have the opportunity to go the the Shiloah pool, the ancient water source in the City of David. There we pray the traditional prayers and let go of little rocks into the water, symbolizing a new and fresh beginning. Taking part in these kinds of traditions in such special places at such special times are quite unique experiences, which I feel privileged to be able to have together with my family.

So, with this, I wish all of us a really good new year, full of peace and joy, meaningful learning, health and blessing!