A number of years back I spent Rosh Hoshana with a good friend of mine at a Hotel based program. My friend was seated between two Rebbeim who would cry quite audibly during the moving “Unsana Tokef” prayer. He related that since he was surrounded by crying, he did the only sensible thing, which was to start crying himself.
For many people, crying is not an option. They understand the seriousness of the Day of Judgement, but we’re not a crying generation. We don’t relate so well to judgement. Rather, many of us are looking for some melodic inspiration, so we can mentally commit to making some improvements in our behavior.
What if you find yourself in a Yeshiva or other din-oriented venue on the Yomim Noraim? You can still chose to make the most out of it. Don’t focus on your dissatisfaction with the davening – that is unlikely to improve the situation. Try to read an inspiring Dvar Torah. Work a little harder on praying with kavanna, especially on the first brocha of Shomoneh Esrai. Make sure you do join in when there are musical moments.
Any effort we make to demonstrate that we want to connect to the day and to Hashem is valuable. And the Yomim Noraim are a time when we get double coupons for our efforts. Let’s hope that we all make the best of these important days.
One thought on “Davening Above the Din on Yomim Noraim”
I believe that it was difficult for me to cry when I was in my inexperienced 20s, but years of experience have shown me a few things since then.
I have seen people suddenly get fired from their jobs, even people who did excellent work, and also had excellent resumes. Next came long periods of unemployment, even though they had excellent resumes and excellent references.
I have seen people unable to hold onto their jobs, even though they had genius-level intelligence. Next came very long periods of unemployment, even though they had genius-level intelligence.
I have seen entire families suddenly plunged into chaos and financial trouble when the parents were hit with cancer and Alzheimer’s disease at the same time, as suddenly as a bolt of lightning.
I have seen people who seemed to be perfectly healthy, who were in a nursing home a month later or dead a month later.
I have seen more than 3,000 people die in one day, in a place that was considered very safe: the World Trade Center.
At my age, I know too much to not cry on Rosh HaShanah.
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