#tbt Rosh Hashanah

Tishrei / September-October 1994, Israel, Saba and Savta’s apartment in Giv’at Shaul

To all of you, including Tatty the photographer (with an extra special wish for my two baby sisters who hadn’t been born yet): l’shana tovah tikaseivu v’saichaseimu l’alter l’chaim tovim u’l’shalom.


Reflection: The Hebrew phrase above flowed easily through my mind as I thought about how to caption this photo, and I wondered why – I usually resist using phrases and blessings I grew up with. I realized that this phrase has no mention of God – it simply means “May you be written and sealed for a good year, quickly, for good life, and for peace.” The writing and sealing implies God, of course, but I wondered – is the subjunctive wish without invoking God what makes me okay with this?

So I experimented. I centered myself, keeping a small part of my mind separate so I can observe myself, my reactions and my thoughts. I let the words flow through my mind again, and felt relaxed and at peace. Then I thought, “May God grant you a good year.” I immediately felt the difference.

When I invoked God, my mind connected to the world in terms of drawing down, drawing inward – God’s grace is out there, and my blessing draws it in for my loved ones. I felt contained. I saw myself connected to others only through God, the lines of my energy and good wishes passing through him before going on to the people I wished well.

When I simply wished my loved ones well, I sent my own energy out. It meant I felt expansive, connected to the people I thought of. Every fiber of my being permeated the vastness of the world around me. I felt diffused. I saw myself connected to others with intimacy, the lines of my energy and good wishes drawing direct links between me and the people I wished well.

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