I can’t believe my last post was this past Hanukkah! What have I been doing with my time? Ready to greet a New Year, that’s a good question for all of us to ask and answer.
Blogging infrequently is not an effective way to share ideas in this era of Social Media. I hope to do better this year. That too, is a theme for this season. We all have things we hope to do better in the months ahead.
I have a suggestion as to where we might start. When we gather together in synagogue on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, after we enter, greet each other and eventually settle into our seats, let’s be sensitive to how long we stay there and how we participate in prayer and community.
High Holy Day Services flow continuously for a few hours. Even though there’s a natural rhythm and internal logic to what, when, and why, it can seem long. Especially to those of us less familiar with the Hebrew words of prayer or their themes.
I have a request. Please plan to stay in synagogue a bit more than before, for a longer period of time than may be your norm. It is very disruptive to our mood and our purpose when large numbers of people leave at the same time following the sermon or at a break when the Ark is closed and we again sit down.
Target your time. I understand we all need to stretch, to take comfort breaks, to join our children or families, and even to take medication. All of that is fine. I want everyone to be comfortable. Plan your time so that your prayer experience is rich and focused, and your personal needs are met.
I also want the service’s flow to continue uninterrupted. Those of us who stay for the entire service appreciate the calm. Those of us who will choose to stay even a bit more than before will discover some of the richest and most compelling elements of our prayer in those next fifteen, twenty, or thirty minutes.
One way to take a break without leaving our seats is to daydream! Daydreaming is one of the main ways we organize our lives, learn from our experiences, and plan for our futures. Daydreams are so common because they reflect our desires and dreams, fears and anxieties.
After all, that is our focus on the High Holy Days. What have we been doing with our time? What do we have to do better? Attending High Holy Day services this year, celebrate your life. Understand what you did last year. Reflect upon your tasks and concerns. Think about your loved ones. Consider the condition of our world. Relax in Jewish community. Wonder and rejoice in God’s presence. The service won’t seem as long. But it will be deeper and more meaningful.
L’Shanah Tovah – for a good and sweet New Year!