Rosh Hashana starts in about 2.5 hours, and I’m sitting here and am completely not ready (Ok, so I showered, but that’s about it).
I’m supposed to speak and I HAVE NO CLUE what I will be saying. None. I haven’t prepared anything. I haven’t had the time (or taken the time or had energy for the time) to prepare both myself for this day and for looking into something to say. My first year out of yeshiva and as a Rabbi, I feel like I know nothing for the holiday.
This year has been so topsy turvy for me just on a personal note (not to mention the world at large). It started in Australia and ended in Colombia. I was in New York. I received smicha. I moved apartments. I started a job. I applied for a job. And now just as I am starting to settle into things, the job I applied to, that I thought didn’t want me, might want me- and that scares me, a lot…
I started a job in the hospital. I know that I know what to do. I know that I am capable to doing it, otherwise they would not have hired me. But there are times that I feel over my head and just not ready. I am knowingly putting myself in a position to open up and be vulnerable (yes, I know that is probably a great thing for me – but still is scary and makes my heart beat fast). There are things that I know I will see more of, and to be honest I’m not really sure if I know the right things to do, how to be comforting, how to be present, how to help families grieve. Just the other day I was in a room with a family as their loved on was gasping for air, even though she had an oxygen mask on. I stood there with the family. Praying, holding them, just being present for 45 minutes. As they watched their wife/sister/daughter gasp for her last breaths. I left the room because I didn’t think I had anything more to say. I look back and in some ways I think it was the right thing, and in other ways, I think of all the things I could have offered. Ways I could have been more forward. Prayers that could have been said more loudly.
Starting next week I will be on call on my own. ME- the ONLY chaplain in the entire hospital for a few hours. And only a week later THE ONLY CHAPLAIN in the ENTIRE HOSPITAL ALL NIGHT!!! Am I really able to do the right thing? Am I the right person? Am I old enough for this… (I guess that is a different reflection)
And then I think about the world. I think about the hurricanes that passed through and the one that is currently passing through. I think of the earthquake in Mexico. I think about all of those who have lost many friends, family and community members. I think of all of those whose house and worldly belongings have been destroyed. I think of those who are sitting in shelters or have no electricity while the storm is happening. It is here that I CRY OUT to God, and ask WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!
And then I think about those who are fleeing their country because of fear of being killed. And I think about all of those who were masqueraded this year. All of those who died by the hand of another person…I think about the governments threatening to create a war that will murder millions upon millions of people- just because. I think about the government wanting to take away health care, in ways that seem like they want to do it, just because they are able. I think about all of those people who are afraid that they will be killed or hurt because of their skin color, their religion, their ethnicity. For those who are afraid that they will have to make the choice between having a home and getting healthy. For those who will start dying in a 1rst world country of diseases we have cures for or things we are working on. It is here THAT I SCREAM TO GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!
I am not ready for Rosh Hashana. I am not ready to stand before the King of Kings. I am not ready to stand there and be reminded that it is the day of judgment. I am not ready to think about what should happen next. I am not ready to read the Unetana Tokef- the prayer that reminds us that this is the day that is decided how the world will look in the upcoming year.
So this ends in a prayer- may this year be a year of peace and tranquility. May You guide the leaders of this world to do good instead of create harm. May all those who have felt loss, find comfort. May those who feel lost, find their way. May those who are ill, find a full healing. May our world return to a time of beauty and hope. May this year be a happy and sweet new year!