Women & Judaism

A Mother’s Rosh Hashanah Experience

There was something special about those early morning walks. I would wake up on Shabbos morning, don my Shabbos finery, and prepare to go to synagogue with my father. Rain or shine, Daddy would make sure to be there a few minutes early, so he could daven properly. I would walk alongside him, trying to keep up with his brisk pace, as we walked the mile from our house to the synagogue.

As I grew older, the unspoken, yet so clearly demonstrated message of my father continued with me. I treasured that block of time, set aside from the rest of the day, where I would daven and listen to the Torah reading. I felt at peace. It goes without saying that, Rosh Hashana as well, I would make my way to synagogue, and spend the next few hours savoring the rich flavor of those holy words.

Even after I left home, and got married, I continued to attend synagogue on Shabbos morning. After a year of marriage, my first child was born. It was definitely an adjustment for me. For the first year or two, I tried to attend Rosh Hashana services in synagogue. I would take turns with other mothers, or longingly wait in the hallway until my baby fell asleep.

As my family grew, a new reality set in. It became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to attend synagogue for much more than the obligatory shofar blowing. I felt a sense of disappointment, even loss. How could I possibly approach these holy days without the opportunity to pray in synagogue? How could I face the New Year without the reassurance of entering it escorted by wholesome communal prayer?

With these thoughts in mind, I spoke with my rabbi, to get some guidance. “Rosh Hashana” he explained to me “is a day when we coronate G-d, so to speak. We proclaim that He is King over us, and we are dedicated to doing His will. You have the unique opportunity to prepare more loyal subjects of the King. What greater expression of coronation could there be?”

I can almost hear the sound of my father’s footsteps on the pavement. Feel the life of those holy words, as the chazzan sings a heartrending melody. And I know that, this Rosh Hashana, G-d willing, I will pass them on to my children. Through the mundane acts that make up a mother’s day, I will take the depth of those feelings and share them in the deepest way, preparing new subjects for the King.


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