Prayer: How to Connect with Tefilah on Rosh Hashanah If You Can't Get to Shul
Moms of young kids, this one's for you.
You're ready for Rosh Hashanah. You're inspired, you're on fire after selichot and a meaningful Elul, YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO PRAY FOR. But. The babysitter's fallen through, or you have a nursing infant, or a needy child, and it looks like instead of spending the High Holidays amidst the soul-stirring chants of your congregation you're going to spend much of your time in your living room entertaining your kids.
However, you can certainly daven on your own without a minyan, and while you may feel let down, it's definitely possible to connect with the awesome tefilot of these crucial days even if you won't be going to shul.
Let's begin with an acrostic. Prayer, tefilah, stands for:
E- everything is from Hashem
Positivity. We need a positive mindset to allow ourselves to step into prayer and to understand what it is we are asking of Hashem. We need to be positive so we can daven for our family members, loved ones and even community members.
Rachmanus. (Compassion; mercy.) Whatever we’re going to ask of Hashem, we’re going to ask Hashem to incorporate rachmanus. In order for that to happen, we also need to be merachem (to have rachmanus on others).
Rachmanus is also the gateway to forgiveness. With rachmanus you can forgive others, which is really the best thing you can do for yourself.
Ambiance. We are at home with our children. Instead of thinking, "Our living room is NOT the place, that now is NOT the time to daven, to speak to Hashem," we need to look around at our surroundings and understand it’s exactly where Hashem wants us. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here. What ambiance are we creating with our children? And what about that ambiance are we using to our benefit in coming close to Hashem? Are we looking around and kvetching, or are we saying, baruch Hashem this is what I have and I will make it a place to daven and speak to Hashem in the way I know he wants?
You can also work on the ambiance in your home all year round to create a place of happiness and positivity.
Yearning... this is where you might want to make a list in advance. What are you yearning for? What are your dreams and hopes for you alone, privately and for your spouse and your children?
Y is also for Year (and You!) – take this time to look back at the previous year and think about what accomplishments you had, what mistakes you made and how you can learn from them, what experiences you had and how you grew from them.
A year is a very long time, encompassing 365 days. Think as much as you can of the past year. When you think about what your time was spent with let it guide you into the right mindset for the new year.
Everything IS from Hashem. Everything amazing, good and awesome, and everything bitter, difficult and painful.
We have to believe it! We have to internalize it, we have to put it into our daily mantra as we’re sitting here at home with our children, playing with them on the floor or getting ready for a meal, the details of our lives are all from Hashem. Everything we have, or don’t, is from Hashem.
We have to believe that all is from Hashem
We ask of him on this day, we beseech his kindness and his mercy, but all that we receive in those areas and more is from His will.
Return. Rosh Hashanah is a time to return to the beginning – the beginning of the year, the beginning of our spiritual state of being. Doing teshuva returns our soul to its natural source – we are all born with a pure soul that knows only happiness and to receive Hashem’s love.
Use this time to return your thoughts to where they once were: goal-oriented, positive and full of hope.
We ask Hashem on Rosh Hashanah to return us to that state where all we know is goodness and all we want to do is good for Hashem, for ourselves, for our families and our communities.
Wishing all of you a beautiful Yom Tov, Chasiva V’chasima Tova, and a Gut Gebentched Y’ar.
Check out the rest of our Dip the Apple holiday tips.