Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shabbat, Birkat Kohanim and Clocks

1. Shabbat in Yerushalayim was beautiful! We went in for a simcha, and every aspect of the Shabbat was outstanding. I was up (very) early and walked to the Kotel to daven vatikin (shemona esray at sunrise, at 6:30am), which was GREAT! It was about 17C degrees with a cool breeze and it seemed that the entire city was sleeping while a few hundred made their way in quiet contemplation towards Judaism's holiest site. While I was there, I observed something that I found SO inspirational, which leads me to item #2...

2. At every tefilla in Shacharit and then on Shabbat twice with Mussaf, when Kohanim are present at the minyan, there is Birkat Kohanim (duchaning). While we were about to hear Birkat Kohanim of Mussaf, I noticed a Dati (religious) policeman putting his "gear" on (radio, gun, vest, etc) nearby and straining to hear where we were at that moment in Tefilla. He then came over quickly and stood for Birkat Kohanim. He closed his eyes and seemed to be transported somewhere else in his mind. He bowed his head to receive the blessings of Hashem through the Kohanim. As soon as the Birkat Kohanim was over, he opened his eyes and went very quickly to (evidentally) post in for his watch. It was SO awesome to watch a police officer of Israel, a fellow Jew, who specifically came to get these blessings before standing guard over HIS fellow Jews. I felt so good seeing this...

3. We changed the clocks last night in advance of Yom Kippur, which begins tonight at sunset. The change of the clock (BACK one hour) means that not only does Kol Nidre begin quite early (5pm!!) but we FINISH the fast at 5:55pm with Maariv and eating beginning again after 6:05pm on Monday! THAT is great...I think I will be able to handle that.

I am also SO looking forward to next Shabbat with the first day of Sukkot. It will be my very first one-day Chag...the way it was meant to be! I am psyched!!

Wishing everyone an easy fast and a Gmar Chatima Tova...daven as if your life depends on it...because it actually DOES!

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