Facing Facts About Rosh Hashanah Davening

This is it. Almost another new year. I usually write a mass email text and work very hard to first feel, and then transmit to you the spiritual energy in Jerusalem and the impending awe that we are supposed to feel in the upcoming weeks because of the severity and weight of what is going to take place based on the chaggim ahead. I bring the notes into play in my head, the growth of Elul, the help and closeness we have with Hashem, and then as if with a Mozart crescendo, finalize it in the Yom HaDin, duh duh. Can you feel it? Are you scared?

And then now, this year, I can’t imagine doing such a thing again knowing where I stand vis-a-vis the Master of the World based on my last year’s din.
There is no stepping into the role here anymore. There is just humility. I can’t tell you how much is decided in these 2 days. I can’t tell you just how much a person’s life can change for the better or for the worse in these two seemingly innocent and mouth-stuffing days. I can’t tell you just how much one day can change to the next and mazal can switch in an instant. You can read it all over my blog.

And then if you didn’t ask, you must have thought – well didn’t she daven at the Kotel last year for a good din? Didn’t she have someone daven at Rebbe Nachman’s kever in Uman last year? And the answer is .. yes she did.

A few years ago when her late husband got the job of executive director at Yeshivas Bircas HaTorah and was now single-handedly responsible for an almost million dollar a year budget, she went to the kotel for 40 days between Elul and Yom Kippur to daven that he would raise all the money he needed without travelling. At his shloshim it was revealed that in all the years he worked and succeeded at his job, he was the one fundraiser in the history of Jerusalem yeshivot that never had to travel (as far as we knew).

A few years before that when we were forced to move out of the Old City, she also went to daven 40 days at the Kotel for a place to live near her husband’s yeshiva and the world bent over backwards to give them an apartment exactly where they needed.

And so on, and so on…

This year I am back for those 40 days not only because I know it’s a mitzva to daven, but because I believe in the power of prayer and I see the power of these special days and place and segula.

Speaking to a group of beginner Torah-learners the other day I described prayer like a choose-your-own adventure book.
The author writes a book, and the reader can choose many different directions based on their decisions. If they choose option A, they have the potential to get all the way to the mazel the author wrote would happen in option A. Same with option B, C and D based on the reader’s choices. Let’s say the reader wants a different option and davens very very hard for that option? Let’s say the option is for instance, winning the lottery. If winning the lottery is within the written options that the author wrote in his book, then he has a good chance of getting it. But let’s say this option doesn’t exist in his potential mazalim, in any of the choose your own adventure paths? It is not in his book at all. Like a blind person davening hard to see….
Did Hashem not answer his prayers?

Really, Hashem didn’t set forth those potential options to be actualized through prayer in his life. It was not a potential mazal.

So, those prayers will instead be redirected to an option that is good and is available in their book or their future generation’s books.

Gershon z”l living past his 40th birthday was not an option in our book. But Gershon becoming a hero for the way he did live was an option. My family and I being showered with kindness and getting the strength to overcome this tragedy was also an option and I thank each one of you for your prayers in making this happen.

With love and blessings from Jerusalem and with brachos to be signed and sealed for a sweet new year,

Batya

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