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YK Post-Partum

Thursday, 1 October 2009


Even under the best of conditions, there is a physical toll that the High Holy Days take. But that isn’t the impact I feel most keenly. It is a type of day-after letdown that is not completely unlike the emotional low after the birth of a child.

The first time I felt it was the day after my Bat Mitzvah service. The house was relatively quiet. The two middle kids and my dad were at Religious School. My mom and baby brother were sleeping. For the ONLY time in Religious School career, I was permitted to take the day off from school. Standing at the top of the staircase, I remember thinking “now what?!?” as I surveyed all that remained of my big day. Strewn about the living room were books, boxes containing gold charms (a VERY popular B/M gift in the 80’s), Cross pen sets, records, and other post-Bat Mitzvah chazzarei. Thank you notes aside, I couldn’t imagine what would replace all of the time and energy I had been spending each day in preparation for my service.

A little more than eleven years later, a similar experience on the morning after our wedding. I stood at the top of the spiral staircase and gazed down upon my beautiful, lifeless wedding gown that we had carefully laid out on the couch just hours before. {{sigh}}

And each year, in the aftermath of the High Holy Days, I am enveloped by a haze. I move with heavy limbs. And a heavy heart. And the sadness is in direct proportion to the heights of the day before. The more glorious the service, the harder the fall.

I used to think that arrival of Sukkot on the heels of Yom Kippur was a cruelty imposed by a Tradition that didn’t take real life into consideration. Now, with a soul yearning for another encounter with the Divine, I see the wisdom.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ariel permalink
    Thursday, 1 October 2009 11:35 pm

    If you want to revisit the High Holidays a bit – on one of my blogs – The Edge of the Rain – the first post right now is a poem I wrote with my students on Rosh HaShanah as a “Spoken Prayer” (informed by spoken word poetry).

    It’s called, Avinu Malkeinu.

    We took up the traditional liturgy (you’ll recognize it) and . . .after about 1 1/2 hours of writing exercises and discussions about what the stuff we were reading might mean . . . responded.

    I’d love to know your reaction.

  2. Friday, 2 October 2009 9:32 am

    what a wonderful way to look at it – another enounter with the Divine. I’m with you – I definitely think of Sukkot following Yom Kippur as God’s little joke played on all of us…

    I think I like your new way of thinking better…

  3. Friday, 2 October 2009 9:49 am

    The Cross pen set- that brings back memories.

  4. Saturday, 3 October 2009 11:02 pm

    This is a very poignant post. Well expressed. Thank you.

  5. Frume Sarah permalink*
    Tuesday, 6 October 2009 11:09 pm

    Ariel — stunning poem. If I want to use it next year, to whom do I give credit?

    Phyl — thanks! Erev Sukkot services were as uplifting as I had hoped…and needed.

    Jack — I can’t believe that I don’t still have a few of those sets around somewhere. I mean, I got A LOT of them.

    RivkA — thanks.

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