Getting Lost in My Seat

On one hand it’s inspiring that so many of us want a specific seat for Rosh Hoshana. Assumably, it’s because we want to pray like there’s no tomorrow on the Yom HaDin. To achieve that we need our regular seat, or the seat we sat in last year. It makes sense to want to maximimze our prayer in the optimal seat.

When my kids were younger, we used to go away for Rosh Hoshana. I remember how we would get to the hotel early and I would head straight for the Shul, scouting out a good seat. Not too close. Not too far. Away from the traffic flow. But not too far that it’s hard to get out. When my optimization algorithm stopped spinning, I would place my talis and seforim and mark my seat. Did it really matter? If I didn’t do some prep work beforehand, would my Kavanna be better because of the seat? Probably not.

When you daven in your own Shul, a different consideration comes it to play. There are many more guests and married children present, so it’s often not possible for everybody to sit in their preferred seat. I remember in the past being asked to change my seat. When I said yes, it was begrudgingly. After all, didn’t I have the first rights to the seat that I had sat in regularly for so many years.

I now see that I made a mistake. If I really wanted to show Hashem that I was getting more serious about my Divine Service, wouldn’t it make sense to give up my own rights, so somebody else could have the seats that they need. Wouldn’t that show Hashem that I was taking a step out of my self-centric world view and concerning myself with the needs of His children. What an amazing step that would be towards a more favorable judgement.

It may be too late for me. Now that I’m on the seating committee, it obligates me to give up my seat if it will help somebody else. So I won’t be able to do complete teshuva and give up my seat because it’s the right thing to do. Hey, maybe you could give up your seat and have me in my mind. It’s just a thought.