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A Journey Towards a Deeper Relationship - Rosh Hashana

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a farbrengen (a Yiddish term that translates to "spending time together"). I don't frequently participate in these events, making the experience all the more enjoyable. I find true value in a farbrengen that fosters deep conversations about connecting with Hashem and spirituality, practically and pervasively in our daily lives. Whenever such discussions arise, I am eager to engage and explore.

Someone started a lively niggun (word / wordless melody) during one particular moment at this farbrengen. To my surprise, everyone around the table stood up in unison. I couldn't help but pause for a moment. Is it customary for people to stand when singing a niggun? Is standing during a niggun a conditioned response, a way to demonstrate enthusiasm? Were the people standing following the lead of the crowd? I didn't have immediate answers to these questions. However, at that moment, I would have much rather sat and thought about the niggun instead of participating in the joyful dance.

As we approach Rosh Hashana, the beginning of a new year, I find myself in a reflective state, looking back on the past year and contemplating the future. My New Year's resolution is to nurture and deepen my relationship with Hashem, making it increasingly authentic. I hope that the next time I get to attend a farbrengen, I will stand up without hesitation or a moment of thought and dance with Joy. It will not be because the rabbi said let's sing now, or that all my friends are doing it, but because I will be so overcome with energy that I want to.

As we embark on this path towards a more genuine connection, it's important to remember that the more we foster relationships with Hashem, the closer we come to a Dira Betachtonim (manifesting His presence in our world). I acknowledge that this journey will look different for each individual, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, if you manage even a fleeting moment of genuine connection with Hashem during Rosh Hashana, you have succeeded. And if you attempt to connect on your own terms and encounter challenges along the way, that is a success. The key is taking steps to transform these often-ritualized activities into something personal and practical.

Good Shabbos

All the best!

Avroham Yehudah Ross

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