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Isn't it pretty?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Rosh Hashanah Recap

Rosh Hashanah was nice. It wasn't the amazing spiritual experience that it has been in the past, though I did manage to shed a few tears while davening (not that that is anything new). But there were some highlights of the holiday and I thought I would share.

Hearing the shofar always makes me tremble. There is something about the sound that penetrates straight into my heart every time I hear it. So hearing 200 shofar blasts over two days really permeates me and gives me pause. It causes me to focus myself on G-d and my relationship with Him.

I love Birkas Cohanim. If I lived in Israel, I think I would go to shul every day (or at least I would be better about going on Shabbos) just to experience Birkas Cohanim on a more regular basis. There is something so powerful about having these men stand before me, cover themselves with their talises for complete concentration, raise their arms, and give me a blessing. I never pass up a blessing from everyone, I wish they were offered more often, and I am just so moved by this special ceremony. And the words of the Blessing they say are powerful as well - May Hashem bless you and safeguard you. May Hashem illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you. May Hashem tunr his countenance to you and establish peace for you. My final reflection on Rosh Hashanah is about family. The holidays are always hard for me because, since becoming religious, I don't spend the holidays with my family. Baltimore is a very warm community, and I always have a place to eat my meals, and I appreciate that hospitality so much. But I often find it difficult to be surrounded by other people's families when I can't be with my own. This year, instead of eating by a bunch of different people who I don't know so well, I chose to eat my meals with a few families that I am very close, and very comfortable with. It was really nice. And I was told that I am not considered a guest in their homes - I am family to them, they just expect me to be part of their holidays. It really touched me and made me realize that family is a lot of things, not just blood. I feel extremely fortunate that I have been able to build new family from those around me.

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