I never really liked the high holidays, I love succos, but when it came to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I would always fall flat on face and wonder how I the ultimate sinner could approach the lord and ask for forgiveness for things I didn’t regret doing and knew I would do again the second the yuntiff was over – I was sure that God was up their laughing at me and everyone else for trying to scam him into giving us another year of plenty or at least life.
I never really let that struggle get to me until several years ago, I guess I bottled up all of my questions, skepticism and angst over asking forgiveness for things that I definitely knew were wrong, but didn’t really care, or did I. One year someone told me that asking God for clarity to understand my struggle was just like teshuvah, so I prayed and still do pretty frequently for an understanding of my wrong doing and for God to put me on a level where I can ask for forgiveness and want to change – yes I want to change certian things – but as I am reading along in viduy I can see all the stuff that I know in my heart will be transgressed by me over and over again.
So I get the High Holiday blues, for instance this past shabbos I was in San Jose, I go to San Jose for several reasons, I absolutely love the people there, they have two copies of the Reb Yaakov biography (he’s my favorite gadol) and the Rabbi spews forth a fire and brimstone mussar from the pulpit that takes me back to the days of Khelm (I’m a bit young for those days, but he really rebukes the congregation and doesn’t sway on his machmir stance)
I was sitting in shul on Friday night and he was ranting about people coming late to shul when we have only a few days to Rosh Hashanah, until then I hadn’t realized Rosh Hashanah was this week (I’ve been completely absorbed by work, car problems and mountain biking) of course I got up late the next day and although I said all the required davening, I felt so apathetic I wanted to hole up in a corner and sulk, it was strange.
Even stranger it became when I missed selichos today and instead of davening along with shema koleinu at the end of the selichos, I read Reb Yaakov. So I davened and felt apathetic, lacked any kavanah and wondered how I would get through Rosh Hashanah, but I think back to past high holidays and remember that I feel like this every year – I get into this funk and the black cloud is raised the second I sit down to the first night meal in the sukkah.
Don’t even get me started on the mine and it seems everyone else’s struggle with the concept of bechira (free choice) and everything decided on Rosh Hashanah….
Sorry for the seriousness and melancholy