Monday, October 03, 2005

Rosh HaShana rambling

A full year has passed since we last sat in our assigned seats, and began Rosh HaShana davening. We asked HaShem to watch over us, and take care of our needs. To watch our families and keep them safe from harm. To provide us with financial well-being, and allow us to find a way to come closer to him while pursuing our day-to-day lives.

Probably more so than in any other year since I got married, I met new people, and felt preconceived ideas challenge my belief system. Through blogging, both on this blog and visiting the blogs of others, I have been exposed to the very best and worst that Judaism has to offer. (Interestingly, I probably found them both at DovBear.)

We always talk about T'Shuva, and the Rambam defines four specific steps toward acheiving T'Shuva. Recognizing a sin, deciding not to do the sin again, not doing the sin when faced with similar circumstances, and confession. Of all these four steps, though, confession, or Vidui, is the one we are most comfortable with. It is part of the Nusach of Davening, and over the course of Erev Yom Kippur and Yom Kippur, we say it ten times.

But isn't there another part of T'Shuva, the part of personal growth. Of taking on more of the Torah, of strengthening our committment to God through doing his Mitzvot. I wonder if that is T'Shuva too. Or is that just growing closer to God, since we are not folowing the Rambam's four step T'shuva process.

The past year has been a blessed year for me and my family. No one got sick. No one died. One of my brothers got married, while another bought a house in Israel. I changed jobs, and added a few more clients to my own freelance business.

But it had not been a great year for Klal Yisroel. Say what you want about the political benefits of Disengagement. Giving up Gaza was the low point. Whenever God takes away part of our land, we have to wonder what else he has in store for us, and what we did wrong to deserve losing a piece of our land.

Shuls have burnt to the ground and antisemitism is flaring again in Europe. Attempted terrorist attacks are being thwarted, but rockets continue to rain down on Israel on a regular basis.

We learn that every tragedy is a message to the Jewish people. And while we don't always understand or know what that message is, there have been a number of messages sent. A Tsunami, two major hurricanes, terror attacks in London, Bali and Madrid, they are all a message to us. They were all written one Rosh HaShana ago, and given Gods signature of approval one week later.

This year promises to be one of challenges for my family. In three weeks we are going to Israel on a Pilot trip; this summer we are planning on making Aliyah and saying goodbye to the life we have carved out for ourselves over the past ten years. And sometime over the next ten days, we will ask God to write it in his book, and sign it on Yom Kippur.


Blogger bardseyeview said...

Bali, a Hindu island in an Islamic ocean, and that seems to be its crime. Hindu pacifism is what got Bali into this mess in the first place.

Israel - another non-muslim island in an Islamic ocean. And Singapore is yet another.

Bali is beautiful place. I've been there a few times (a short hop from where I lived in Tokyo). Saronged women drop flowers on the doorsteps each morning.

It's a crying shame.

October 03, 2005 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do not come.
Stay home.
Israel is no place to raise religious kids.
Maybe once, maybe sometime again, but not now.

October 05, 2005 12:50 PM  
Blogger rockofgalilee said...

anonymous, you don't have a clue. There may be different challenges here, but they are no better or worse then the challenges you face trying to raise your kids in any other part of the world.

October 06, 2005 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do you know whether or not i have a clue? it is one thing to disagree, and quite another to make radical assumptions.

the problems in israel of keeping kids religious, no matter what the background, are growing more and more acute.
it has not reached israeli proportions in america.

better stay than come.

October 06, 2005 8:48 AM  
Blogger stillruleall said...

what about Isy? He may not have been related at his death, but he was still family.

October 09, 2005 3:28 AM  

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