Settling into the Jewish holidays for me means shopping, eating, entertaining and lots of whining from the kids about how many hours we are in synagogue and how much we can't eat on Yom Kippur. I get it. It's not easy being Jewish...let's face it, we do a lot of stuff - especially over the high holidays. I can do most of the fasting without complaining but I would give $500 to the first person who can get me a diet coke. Caffeine is the great nemesis. So as I am shuffling about from one sermon to the next in very uncomfortable shoes and a dress I would rather turn into a set of cotton pajamas, I realize I can't place my head where it should be. Am I grateful? Sure...I just faced a lot from a personal place...am I pissed? Well hell yes...I don't deserve Cancer. Am I overwhelmed? Uh...yeah...see above but overall, I am supposed to be feeling something and I can't get there. I'm trying - I tried all week but it's just not that magical place I see in my dreams. In service today - yes, I am on the computer during Yom Kippur...I'll cover this next year...we move in like cattle, book in hand, caffeine headache, blisters from my new shoes we stop to wait for the Rabbi to finish so we can enter the sanctuary. I see Maddie reach for a tallit and pause...closing her eyes, taking a deep breath, whispering the prayer as she places it lovingly over her shoulders and prepares to enter. Then it hits me. It's why I am here. It's why I have always been here. Tradition. It's the gift we give to our children...the gift of a legacy, an identity, a place, a belonging...it's home. It's nearly 6000 years of tradition - watered down a bit, not so factory new but as she placed the prayer shawl over her shoulders, she became one with millions of people, at that moment, who do the very same thing. My relationship with Gd is fussy - we fight, we don't talk and it will be what it is but what the holidays mean to me is tradition. It's the challah on Shabbat - it's never changing. It's the family and the food and prayers and the candles...it's blessing my children over candle light on Friday night, it's bringing them to the Torah for the first time at their b'nai mitzvah, it's handing them over to their betrothed under the huppa, it's eating bagels on Sunday morning, it's making caramel apples over Rosh Hashana...it's what they expect, it's who they are, it's how we do it and it's our gift to them...tradition. It's what Tevye sang about in Fiddler on the Roof and it's what I feel today.
I went to synagogue this morning hungry and irritated about the parking but left with the gift of why we are here and why we have always been here. It's for our children...L'dor v'ador. From generation to generation.
Watching my girls read the prayers, smile, yawn and occasionally giggle out of boredom I am good. I am good because they are home and when they are home, I am at peace.