There is a staircase 2 houses away from us that leads from our block to the one above. Early in the mornings I have been told from my neighbor (since then has moved towns) that she has heard this gentleman out her window really early in the morning belting out his prayers or opera, not sure. While it is technically public space, I imagine waking up to it is not great unless you like that sorta’ thang.
After a 2 day holiday I was pretty psyched to have a nice, long, hot shower and out my window, through the water pelting at my eardrums I heard the melodious slow and sweet prayers for the Yom Kippur Service. Just to let you know, we JUST finished Rosh Hashana, then there are 10 days (of repentance…get it in if you can before the big day) until Yom Kippur. So, this gentleman is perhaps the one that leads the Yom Kippur service and like many other men (and I guess also women cantors are) probably practicing for the next inspirational prayer service. It was 9PM and I heard him singing as if he were literally outside my window he was that loud. And clear, yup, loud and clear, and it WAS inspirational and melodious and old school.
My own father has for many years led similar services and I grew up to the pre-holiday operatic, cantorial, music playing off the record player of famous cantors like Sir David Montefiore & Moshe Koussevitzky.
Listening to the mystery cantor our my window, I was immediately brought back to those days of the high holidays as a young girl. The soulful cry of the Kol Nidre service both tugs at the heart and truly makes you think, was I the best I could have been? Did I make promises that I did not or could not keep? I begged for forgiveness if I had. I still do every year.
So tomorrow is a fast day which many people enjoy after having 2 days of festive meals, but I do not. I hate fasting for obvious reasons.
1) Chubby likes to eat.
2) I get cranky.
3) I get head-ache-y.
4) Inevitably my children will whine and make it worse than it has to be.
5) yes, OBVIOUSLY because it signifies a bad day for us as Jews.
Tomorrow is Tzom Gedaliah-
Tzom Gedaliah (Fast of Gedaliah) is an annual fast day instituted by the Jewish Sages to commemorate the assassination of Gedaliah Ben Achikam, the Governor of Israel during the days of Nebuchadnetzar King of Babylonia. As a result of Gedaliah’s death the final vestiges of Judean autonomy after the Babylonian conquest were destroyed, many thousands of Jews were slain, and the remaining Jews were driven into final exile.
Thus begins the 10 days of repentance, morbid, I know. But important and inspiring. My senses are heightened, I am more alert and aware of my mortality. I fear G-d WAY more this week, though I should probably work on that and make it a daily reminder-thing, and I am often searching for new resolutions that I aim to keep for the coming year.
So while I thought it was strange to be showering this evening while listening to the cantor-man sing the very powerful Kol Nidre service it was an early wake-up call. Our lives are at stake. Recently, in my own personal life, there has been terrible illness within my family and close friends, but there has also been amazing recovery. I do not take this for granted. These next 10 days are crucial and I am always reminded of this when I hear terrible things happen during this time.
I hope all can forgive me for any wrongdoings I may have done to you or heaven forbid said about you. I am not perfect and I am willing to admit that and ask for forgiveness.
May we merit another year of blessings and good tidings and clearly health, happiness and fulfillment. Amen.