In my last post I described my Rosh Hashanah, but not my observations of my own tefilla. Two posts ago I wrote of my expectations for feeling and emoting during davening.
This year I missed attending shul for davening Erev RH. This was extremely unusual for me. Even in all the years in which I prepared ALL the RH meals at home, for more than 24 people most of the time -- and without ANY help (see explanation below for that), I ALWAYS got to shul for Erev RH davening. But this year I simply was unable to go, there was still much to be done in preparation for the meals. I am not up to my old standards -- I move more slowly and tire more easily. Even with my daughter sharing the work, and even with my son-in-law pitching in and even with my mechutenet bringing some cooked foodstuffs, I found we were "behind" in our prep. Chloe is pregnant and we have a 2.5 year old rambunctious little boy underfoot. I am still feeling the physical after effects of spending nearly two years under tremendous stress. So I guess it was par for the course...
But in the morning, I was able to get to shul, 10 minutes early, to secure an ideal seat for myself (albeit not ideal for Chloe), and to stay for the entire davening. (We HAD done ALL our cooking ahead of time after all, just so this could happen!)
As anticipated I DID emote, I did feel all those intense feelings that come over me every RH and YK. Some of the tunes were familiar to me and helped to evoke the feelings and others were new to me and beautiful and also brought about the same feelings. Best of all, I was paying more attention to the actual liturgy, in Hebrew, and really understanding it. It reminded me how I did the same when I was in Israel thirty years ago. Even though I have not learned a huge amount of NEW things in Hebrew at this point, what I have done is regained my familiarity with it and ability to pull out meanings by seeing the shoresh (root) of the words.
I will write more about my ulpan experiences in a future post, but before I close this post a word of explanation about the lack of help in my past preparations for chagim. When Barry was alive, we hosted many of the meals for all the chagim in our house and with immediate and extended family alone that could mean feeding up to 24 people! We frequently added to that by inviting friends as well. Both Barry and I worked full time, both of us had to commute to and from work, both of us were also VERY active in our shul/community. When we married, I initially attempted to encourage all the girls to join us in our Shabbat and Chag preparations - cleaning, cooking, other preparations. But his daughters were extremely resistant to helping us, and downright resentful. My daughter had been used to helping out but I found I could not hold her to a different standard than his daughters. When I was unsuccessful in receiving any help from his kids, after two years, I gave up. I also let my own daughter slide with them. I hired a cleaning woman who came in every week and cleaned the house. But I was still left with doing all the shopping and cooking by myself for the most part. Barry helped by doing all the non-cooking prep, and with doing dishes and sweeping, and putting things away. I was like a tornado -- I moved with lightening speed doing my cooking, and cooking multiple things simultaneously. I rarely burned or ruined a dish. I no longer can do this. It is too much for me. So, anyway, that is why I had no help.