After a month of Elul, blowing shofar, L'david, Selichot, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Teshuva, Tefilla, Tzekada, Sukka, Lulav/Etrog, Hallel, Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, the month-long intense period known as "The Chagim" has now come to a close. It has been a fantastic run and one that will forerver be remembered by us as our first "set" here in Israel.
The Chag was SO beautiful here! Last night for Hakafot, the ruach (spirit) was so strong in Shul. Then, in the middle of the Hakafot, we went out to the Kikar (a very nice traffic circle with trees, grass, etc) and joined another Shul nearby for joint Hakafot out in the street. It was a sight to behold as I just sat there for a minute absorbing the scene that I was watching. It was SO enjoyable and SO nice to be part of. In the morning, the ruach was good, but when about 60 boys from Bnei Akiva showed up, the ruach was incredible! They electrified the entire place! After everyone had his Aliya, there was a shul-wide Kiddush in the social hall, which was beautiful. Someone gave a Dvar Torah, made a Bracha Achrona and then it was back upstairs for the rest of Torah reading and the end of Tefilla.
Remember, that here in Israel, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are on the same day. So, I was interested to see how things would work going from the joy and glee of Hakafot to the more somber mood of Tefillat Geshem and Yizkor. It worked SO well! Moving the seats back in place (having been moved for the dancing) and the nusach of the Tefilla now changing and becoming more low-key were actions that seemed to affect the mood in the Shul. Tefillat Geshem is recited here before Mussaf (not as part of the repetition of the Shemona Esray) and was preceded by Yizkor. It was as if a switch was thrown and we switched from the festive feeling of Simchat Torah to the more tempered feel of Shemini Atzeret.
The day is so short here that by the time we got up from the table from our host from lunch, I had about 45 minutes until Mincha. A short time later, we davened Maariv and the Chagim of 5770 are now a part of history.
And now, real-world life begins again...for some that means returning to Chutz La'aretz. For others it is saying good bye to friends or relatives who may have come for an extended stay. For others, it means no more Tiyulim for a while but a chance to go back to the office.
Whatever it means to anyone, one thing is for sure...this was an absolutely magnificent few weeks. Our thanks to the greater Mitzpe Nevo area for having made this such an enjoyable experience. Next stop...Chanuka...but, it will have to wait 2 months...until then, back to work!