Saturday, July 31, 2004

Shavuah Tov

Shabbat is over, and WHOO HOOO for SHABBAT!!!! I really missed Shabbat. I really missed rest, I really missed shul, I really missed prayer. And it was so amazing, that by deciding to bring this ONE Shabbat back into my life, little by little, I found comfort in today's prayers. One comfort was in a prayer said daily, the other from this week's parshah.

Rob and I haven't been able to find a shul in CT that suits both of us, so today we tried a new shul. It turned out that it's not for us, the congregation, the attitude, and the style, but thats ok. We'll find something.... I found my spirit there today.

The first thing that comforted me was in a prayer said on a daily basis, three times a day. The last part of the silent Amidah. I'm going to give the translation, as that's what I was reading this morning, and besides, my Hebrew isn't so good.

"... Open my heart to your Torah, so that I may pursue your mitzvot. Frustrate the designs of those who plot evil against me. Make nothing of their schemes. Do so because of Your compassion, Your power, Your holiness, and Your Torah. Answer my prayer for the deliverance of my people. May the words of my mouth and the medidations of my heart be acceptable to you..."

And I was awestruck. Words I had recited over and over for ages and ages, all the times I prayed the Amidah, suddenly the words came alight for me. It's exactly what I have been feeling, open my heart to Torah, make nothing of all the things in my life pulling me away from my Judaism, give me the strength to pray and observe and be happy with my spirituality. Accept my words of prayer and my heartfelt spirit. And it was all right there in fromt of me all along.

And in the Sim Shalom prayerbook I was using, there was an alternate translation, which I have always ignored, never read it, but today I took the time to read it.

"...Grant me the privilege of the liberating joy of Shabbat, the privilege of truly tasting the delight of Shabbat. May I be undisturbed by saddness, by sorrw, or by sighing during the holy hours of Shabbat. FIll Your servant's heart with joy, for to You, oh Lrd, I offer my entire being. Let me hear joy and jubilation. Help me to expand the dimensions of all Shabbat delights. Help me to extend the joy of Shabbat to the other days of the week, until I attain the goal of deep joy always. Show me the path of light, the full joy of your Presence, th bliss of being close to You forever..."

And again, it was all right there in fromt of me, prayer to keep the joy of the Shabbat spirit with me, what I've been wanting in my recent life, what I've been missing.

And of that weren't enough, todays parsha was the second telling of the Ten Commandments. Standing there, listening, I felt as if I were standing receiving them from Moses himself. But it was when I was sitting and reading through the parsha, that I found this

"But if you search for the Lrd your Gd, you will find him, if only you will seek Him with all your heart and soul when you are in distress because all these things have befallen you and, in the end, return to the Lrd your Gd and obey Him. For the Lrd your Gd is a compassionate Gd: he will not fail you nor will He let you perish; He will not forget the covenant which he made with you fathers..."

And I felt like some of my prayers were immediately answered. All I have to do is pray, and look, and believe, and that lost spirit will be there for me. I liked that. A lot.

It didn't matter that the Rabbi was chacking his beeper, or that the person reading Torah wasn't actually reading from the Torah, but was reading from the chumash, and the congregation wasn't really my type... none of it mattered. Thats just one shul, I can find another, what matters is I found part of my answer, found some help and solace in one single shabbat service.

It made me feel that I can do it again, fit it all back into my life. I'm not sure how, I'm not ready to quit the job I have, nor am I ready to tell my cousin, sorry, I can't go to your engagement party, or my friend sorry I can't go to your wedding, because it's on Saturday. But I can start again with the little things: candles, reading, learning, prayer, Kosher.... I'll go to shul when I can, if not, I'll find a way to pray on my own. I did it once, I can try again, and maybe one day I'll be able to find that job with Saturdays off. For now, its ok, I'm doing my best. I'm just glad I feel spirit again. Rob commented on a previous post that Gd was closer to me than I thought. He was right. Thank you Rob.

After shul I took my Shabbat nap, and then Rob and I did our own thing the rest of the day. It was a very nice Shabbat, a very meaningful Shabbat, and I am very thankful.

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