JEWISH WORSHIPERS cover themselves with prayer shawls 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
It’s amazing to live in Israel. Though faced each day with trials and
tribulations on a national and international scale, living here is a special
experience, with a diverse population and as many opinions.
Israel is quite an experience, especially during the High Holy Days.
rush before Rosh Hashana is not only the rush to prepare, it’s the rush to have
the right gifts for everyone. Yes, in Israel it is traditional to give each of
your guests or each of your hosts gifts during the holidays. A gift for all,
young or old, a gift for the cousin that you see once a year, and a great way to
begin the holiday meal.
Yet through all the rush on stores, shopping for
groceries in bulk because all of them will be closed, we find the time to think
about what this past year has brought and what we hope for in the coming
The week before Yom Kippur gives us each time to look back and
reflect, while at the same time having the opportunity to look into the future
and ask what we want for the following year. Some will see the half-empty cup
and others will go through this process in gratitude. We each have our
individual traditions taught to us through generations.
I eagerly wait
for the eve of Yom Kippur each year.
The streets are filled with rushed
shoppers, the stores all close very early and by early afternoon a sense of
silence encompasses the country. Even the dogs stop barking.
As the sun
sets, the cars on the road dwindle down and the streets become silent. Neighbors
in white begin their walk to synagogue.
It is beautiful.
this unique time in Israel and in the entire Jewish world, I am often reminded
of the “Ana Bekoach” prayer which many believe has special powers.
poem has seven lines with six words in each line, 42 words in all composing the
name of God. Seven lines for the seven days of the week.
prayer was written by Rav Nehuia Ben Hakannah centuries ago and is believed to
be able to bring new and positive energy into our lives, to bring order from the
chaos of our everyday lives, and to bring healing energy to the body and the
Israeli singer Ovadia Hamama sings this beautiful prayer/poem so
wonderfully and it is well known in Israel.
When I first heard Ana
Bekoach on the radio, I assumed that it was a prayer from Yom Kippur. Later I
would learn that it was from the Kabbala, and that the message is truly
extraordinary. It could be that if it were published for the first time today,
it would be called “new age,” because it speaks of energy, of positive energy
and what can be achieved if we use this energy; it speaks of the energy of light
within each of us, of our ability to live through giving and of overcoming the
many obstacles that we are faced with along the paths of our lives.
seven lines we learn that each of us can overcome obstacles. We each have the
freedom of choice and we are able to choose every day of our lives. Our minds
our wondrous and the freedom to choose our thoughts at any specific moment
allows us to be unique in these choices. Whoever we are, we all possess this
ability. We are able to choose how we would like to live our lives and choose
the path. We can do our heshbon nefesh looking at all we lack, or we can choose
to look at all that we are blessed with.
What has this year taught us?
What do we pray for in the upcoming year? Yom Kippur is a great opportunity to
look at ourselves and make decisions about what we will do in the upcoming year
to make our lives better. We can use the energy and take action to use the
energy to make a better life for ourselves, for our families and for our
community. What will you do this year that will bring joy into the lives of
others and joy to yourself? It’s for each of us to decide.
Gmar Hatima Tova! Karel Glazer loves working with people and is a Certified Life
Coach and author.