life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Day of Remembrance

(cross posted at Midcentury Modern Moms)

On Rosh Hashanah it is written, on Yom Kippur it is sealed.

The High Holy Days are a period of introspection, of reflection and remembrance. Our tradition teaches that the Almighty writes each person's name in the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah, and their fate is sealed on Yom Kippur. Who shall live and who shall die?

One ceremony is called Tashlikh. We go to a body of water -- the sea, a river, a pond -- and cast bread upon the waters, symbolically casting our sins away. My synagogue is fortunate, our building is across the street from a small pond, so we always gather on the first day of Rosh Hashonah to perform this ceremony.

My Aunt Bernice, who died last spring, loved to go with me to Tashlikh. So my thought this year was to have her in mind while performing the ritual, to think about her while reciting the prayers.

Instead, I found myself looking at my neighbors' children, the kids who were laughing and giggling as they stood by the water and waited for the prayers to end so that they could throw their bread into the water. And found myself missing my own children.

Not the grown up college students who were too busy with their own lives to be home for the holidays -- albeit Jen left for school a mere two days before Rosh Hashanah and Becca actually made it home for dinner last Wednesday, though she had to head back to her dorm that very same night.

No, I found myself missing their younger selves, the giggly girls who stood at the edge of that pond with their friends from Hebrew school, contemplating their "sins", the girls who'd spent most of the morning socializing with their classmates in the synagogue lobby while trying to avoid junior congregation, the girls who ... well, my twosome were cuties way back when.

I can't mourn the loss of those young girls, my daughters have grown into wonderful young women and I am so proud of everything they have become. Still, there are times when I miss my "children".

But some day, G-d willing, I can take my grandchildren to giggle at the edge of the pond.

And as for my aunt?

It occurs to me that last year I promised to take her to synagogue on Yom Kippur.

And so I shall. When we read the prayers memorializing our deceased loved ones, she will be in my heart.

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