Friday, September 21, 2007


I wish I had something truly insightful and original to post here, but lately my thoughts, though very occupied with matters of din and rachamim and teshuva and tefilah and olam haba and olam hazeh, have been more often confused than coherent. So I will spare you the angst.

One thought on Yom Kippur, that I heard from Rabbi Hanoch Teller during my year in Israel: people often complain that it is impossible to focus on tefillah while fasting. How are we supposed to concentrate our thoughts to heaven if our stomachs are rumbling? Rabbi Teller counters: haven't you ever been reading, and been so engrossed in the book that the hours fly by, until you finish, only to realize that your neck is sore, that it is 3:00 am, and that you are super hungry? (I, for one, know that this has happened to me.) It is possible to get so engrossed in a task that everything else gets shut out, even basic physical concerns. If we were able to immerse ourselves entirely in our tefillos, we would not even notice our hunger. Though very few people are actually on that level, even I have experienced it to some degree, if only for moments instead of hours. So on Yom Kippur, when my stomach starts to distract me, I redouble my efforts to focus on what I am saying, on what weighs in the balance and what I am asking for.

I wish everyone a gmar chasimah tova--may your tefilos be answered, and may we all be sealed for another year of life and happiness.


Scraps said...

Wow...I wish I'd read this before Yom Kippur instead of after, but it still resonates. There were definitely moments when the davening just took me up and out of where I was and I forgot my empty stomach and sore feet. Hours...I wish. Minutes...yes. Nu, hopefully next year I'll manage a few minutes of uplift than I did this year.

Scraps said...

*a few more

Lvnsm27 said...

A great way for us to get into it is to learn the meaning of the words so we really feel it.

Great post

have a great year

Northern Light said...

You are so right. I noticed this year that the last hour of standing for neilah went super-quickly because I was so "into" the davening. Usually that time goes slowest, and I'm counting the pages in the machsor. The secret this year for me was the Artscroll interlinear translated machsor--I could read the English and the Hebrew almost simultaneously. It slowed me down a bit, but even THAT made the time go faster.