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Reflections on Liturgy of the High Holy Days

We spent the whole morning of prayers during the High Holidays on our pleas for forgiveness from God, and our praises to Him for all that He does. The prayer that really spoke to me this year was at the end of morning services of both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. There we sang the prayer of ‘today’ more with joy, rather than the trepidation that seemed to be present throughout the rest of the prayers. “Today, strengthen us….Today, bless us….Today, accept our prayers.” We had spent the whole morning asking for kindness from God, and we ended with a sense of confidence that is like no other! We said that today we know that He hears us crying out to Him, and we also know that He will support us. He will give us that special type of care, with the same type of compassion, that you hope any father would have for their child.

This ending prayer gave me hope. I did it Hashem! I cried out to you, and I begged for forgiveness. I have worked hard at the life that You have given me, and have done the very best that I could with it. As a mother, the main ‘profession’ I feel I have in this world, I have done everything I could to give my daughter the best life possible. I have raised her in Your image, through Torah and mitzvot. This child has a love for You, and all that you ask of us. You have put this task squarely on my shoulders, and I have done it!

So, ‘today’, I know that You will give me the strength that I need to get through it all. You will give me the support that I need to continue to do the job that You have put me in this world to do. As I sang this prayer, I truly felt the joy that one can feel when they know that there is someone listening to them, who will help them through anything. I knew that You were paying attention to me, ready to answer the pleas that I had been crying out to you over and over again.

There is another prayer that has brought me to tears over and over again on Yom Kippur. It states “We are your children, and you are our Father…we are your friend, and you are our Beloved…we are your people, and You are our King.” This prayer puts life all into perspective for me. As I go through the troubles in my life that I continue to go through, I must always keep this type of relationship in mind. Hashem is like my father. Just like a father, I know that He will do what He knows is best for me. I am Hashem’s friend (what a fantastic concept!), and He loves me. This is an unconditional love, which someone can feel for that friend to which they will always have a deep connection, even if you don’t speak all of the time. God is my king. My King! He rules all. I must always remember who is in charge, and with that great power, comes the ability to make great things happen.

As I went into the most powerful day of the year, Yom Kippur, I did my best to keep the lessons I have learned from these great words in my mind. I continued to pray, and beg for forgiveness for all that I needed to atone for in my life. As I did that though, I also had a huge sense of sureness that my appeals would not only be heard, but they would be answered as well. These responses would be the best possible ones for me, and they would most definitely come with a power that can only come from my King. I had no doubt in my mind that this amazing power would truly rock my world.

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