The call of the Shofar opens the gates of heaven.
It is our heartwrenching cry to the Master of the Universe, to hear our prayers, and have mercy on us.
It is a symbol, to remind God, of the ram that Abraham sacrificed in Isaac's stead. We hope that, even if we are not worthy ourselves, God will remember our forefather, who was ready to sacrifice his son.
We stand, humbled, wailing to God.
The first day of Rosh HaShanah, as the first sounds were heard from the Shofar, I felt the gate of heaven open, and knew that God was listening directly to me. Silently, I prayed to God. I want to live. Please, let me be written, for another year, in the book of life.
As I stood there, with my eyes closed, praying to God, tears suddenly burst from my eyes. Embarrassed, I quickly lifted my open machzor (prayer book), and covered my face. The sound of the Shofar continued to carry my desperate plea. With every t'kiyah (call), more tears fell, as, silently, I begged God, please, let me live.
Emersed in my private dialogue with God, I heard a voice calling me back. Standing next to me, my worried little daughter whispered ever so quietly and sweetly, "Ima, why are you crying?"
I put my finger to my lips, indicating that she should be quiet.
I could not answer.
We do not talk during t'kiyat haShofar (blowing the Shofar).
But that is not the only reason I did not answer.
I was overwhelmed by the power of prayer. I could not do anything, but plead with God, while those gates were still open.
There are several sets of t'kiyot during davening. During each set, I focussed on different prayers: I prayed, by name, for shidduchim. I prayed, by name, for good health (mostly for other cancer patients, but also for others). I prayed for our country. I prayed for my family. I prayed for help, in cleaning my home, and being a better parent/wife. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed.
I did not cry every time, though I cried a lot.
But I prayed stronger than I have ever prayed before.
And I cannot stop the tears, even now, as I write these words, and wonder if it is too personal to share...
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,