"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."

I believe in God.

Monday, August 23, 2010

U'N'Taneh Tokef

On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement, a particular poem is read that is very special to me.

U'N'Taneh Tokef discusses the holiness of the day: how we are but dust specks who pass before God like sheep before a shepherd. God counts each one of us according to his/her merits and sins, and no one can escape.

The poem goes on to talk about all the possible fates a person can have: to live or die; to die young or old; to die by fire, water, wild beast, or sword; and many others. Then the poem proclaims "And repentance, prayer, and charity avert the evil decree."

This poem, as I mentioned above, holds special meaning for me.

Every year I pray for my health, and every year I get farther away.

I accept God's verdict, but I do not understand it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Special Occasion

Today is Rosh Hodesh Elul, the beginning (Rosh, literally head) of the month (Hodesh) of Elul. Elul is the last month on the Hebrew calendar, the last month before the New Year (Rosh HaShanah) and Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), when we beg forgiveness from God and man for our sins and pray for a favorable judgment for the coming year. A special psalm is added to morning prayers during this month.

Today, as I said all the special prayers for Rosh Hodesh (an addition to the amidah [Standing Prayer], extra collection of joyful psalms, and the psalm for Elul), I couldn't help but feel closer to God. This may be the first time those prayers have ever done that for me.


Monday, August 2, 2010

A Judaism-Themed Poem

I wrote this in Israel and included it with my college applications, because extra poetry never hurt. This one was also published in my school literary magazine this past year. Poems would ordinarily go on my non-religion-themed blog, but this one is so Jewish, I am putting it here. The title means "Woman of Valor"

Eshet Chayil

Daughter of pride, sister of hope,
Mixes the mud for one more brick.
Feels her arms weary; adds strength and continues.
Daughter of pride, sister of hope.

Daughter of pride, sister of hope,
Stands at Mt. Sinai receiving the brit.
Trembles beneath the thick, fiery smoke.
Daughter of pride, sister of hope.

Daughter of pride, sister of hope,
Fingers outstretched as they reach for her spear.
Dies in a fire set by the Romans.
Daughter of pride, sister of hope.

[The following stanza was cut from the college application version due to space limits.]

Daughter of pride, sister of hope,
Lays bare her throat so her husband can kill.
Submits to death: a free woman, no less.
Daughter of pride, sister of hope.

Daughter of pride, sister of hope,
Holds fast to her God as she burns at the stake.
Tortured to death by the Spanish Inquisitors.
Daughter of pride, sister of hope.

Daughter of pride, sister of hope,
Choked by the gas with shema on her lips.
One of her people, now one with her God.
Daughter of pride, sister of hope.

Daughter of pride, sister of hope,
Stands at Masada and shouts out her name.
Holds the proof of the past and the key to the future.
Daughter of pride, sister of hope.


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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!