Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Holding On To It...

Over the past few days since Rosh HaShana, I've encountered people who ask me how my yom tov was. The truth is, that's a really difficult question to answer, to my mind. Answering that it was "nice" seems a little too pat; on the other hand, saying that it was meaningful doesn't seem appropriate, either, if not a little bit pretentious...

For one thing, I won't truly know how my Rosh HaShana was until next year, obviously. But even in terms of experience, I just don't feel comfortable expressing my thoughts on it just yet, because to a certain degree, it's not reflective of reality beyond these Days of Awe. Of course, I had a positive tefillah experience; at this point in my life I am lucky to have reached a stage where I anticipate the opportunities of our annual milestones, as opposed to the anxiety concerning how I will "survive" them. But with that comes the recognition that it isn't so much about how inspiring the actual moment may be, in the moment - it's about how it affects me days later, weeks later, months later, in the cold darkness of the winter stretch.

A little exercise to illustrate my point:

Leiby Kletzky


When I tried this in person with several of my friends, I saw a widening of their eyes as they remembered, at the same time recognizing that they had in fact forgotten about the sweet little boy whose tragic death affected us so viscerally a few months ago. At the time, did any of us think that we would forget him? We were so profoundly moved; his image was stamped on our collective consciousness...

And now...

The same thing gives me pause about the Days of Awe. And I know that it happens, because this is the twenty seventh time that I am living (thank God!) through this auspicious time, and I don't feel that my year was significantly better...

I pray every day that our sensitivity should increase, and that we should be able to truly incorporate the lessons learned and maintain the resolve that we feel during these Days of Awe.



1 comment:

micha said...

The Eigel Effect.

There is a piece in Orot haTeshuvah that I found relevant. See my Aspaqlaria Aseres Yemei Teshuvah Reader, starting at the last paragraph of page 2. Or even better, see pereq 2 of Orot haTeshuvah itself!

-micha