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Friday, October 3, 2008


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,


Unknown said...

It is personal. That makes it all the more powerful and meaningful for this reader.
I too am praying for you (in my own way).

Anonymous said...

We love you.

Sarah said...

Thank you for your intimacy. I have also shed many tears while sitting at the keyboard writing. It is real, and it is truth. And it is connection.

If not now, when?


Baila said...

Beautiful post. Your situation is unique, but your prayers are shared by most.

May your prayers be answered for yourself and for all of us.

Rahel Jaskow said...

Amen, with all my heart.

Anonymous said...

Every time there was שלח רפואה שלמה לחולי עמך I thought of you first... Jameela

Ilana said...

Your post was inspiring and not overly personal at all. If it hadn't been so personal, it wouldn't have been so inspiring.

May all your prayers be answered for good!

A Living Nadneyda said...

We should learn to pray with that strength.... May all your prayers be answered.

גמר חתימה טובה.

Unknown said...

I pray that your prayers are answered together with all of those people who are unfortunately suffering as you are. I pray that Hashem grants you this year and many more and your recovery should come together with Moshiach and a better life for all of us. May Hashem bless you and your family. Hilary W, Edgware, UK.