In the Judaism faith one of the highest of holy days is the 10 days that begin with Rosh Hashanah and conclude with Yom Kippur. During these 10 days the Jewish people spend this time as a deep time of introspection. It was during these 10 days that I truly experienced my “awe” moment.
I was able to begin these important 10 days at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs for Rosh Hashanah. It set the tone for the beginning of my introspection as we chanted together as a temple family and listened to the words of our Rabbi.
The next day my best friend and I began our road trip which would take us up north from Palm Springs, to San Jose, to Oregon to our final destination: Washington. It was in Washington where I experienced my true moment of finding my heart open and fill with pure joy and love.
I have had many moments of awe in my lifetime. I was filled with those moments of wonderment the first time I walked through Yosemite, held my children, had an aliyah, carried the Torah, marveled at the sunrises and sunsets on the Sea of Cortez.
There is something so beautiful about what I am about to tell you. As I writer I love words but yet I am at a loss for what I am trying to put onto paper. As I stepped out of the car and saw my first grandbaby in the arms of her mother, my heart began to beat so loudly.
As she was handed to me, already a month old, I looked into her perfect face and saw what every Bubbe or Grandmother sees, perfection. Her sweet cheeks, hair, fingers and toes so soft. I wanted to hold her close to my heart and let her know that I would always love and protect her. I wanted to share everything I am with her and it was at that moment that the days of awe came into significant meaning for me.
You see, during these 10 days of introspection, the Jewish people spend this time making amends and righting any wrongs they may have done during the past year. As I held Harmony in my arms I wanted to be someone she would be proud of as her Bubbe or Grandma. I wanted to work harder, love more and be kinder. I want to be an example to all that is good in the world. As her eyes focused on mine I prayed that she would grow up to be all that she can be and that her pain will be less in this world and her joy great.
As I rocked her that evening I whispered a prayer in her ear:
Sweet gift of God, my sweet little Harmony. As you lay your head on my shoulder may you always know that you are a miracle. As I look at your precious little face, I see so much of your father in you and it seems like just yesterday I was rocking him in my arms. You are such a gift, a miracle to all of us. Welcome to this magnificent life, I want you to know how very much wanted you are by your whole family.
I ended the prayer with the Hashkivenu (A Jewish bedtime prayer asking for a peaceful nights sleep and may God’s angels watch over us during our slumber):
„הַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם וְהַעֲמִידֵנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיִּים. וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ וְתַקְּנֵנוּ בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ וְהָגֵן בַּעֲדֵנוּ. וְהָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אוֹיֵב דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב וְרָעָב וְיָגוֹן וְהָסֵר שָׂטָן מִלְּפָנֵינוּ וּמֵאַחֲרֵינוּ וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנוּ כִּי אֵל שׁוֹמְרֵנוּ וּלְשָׁלוֹם מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַפּוֹרֵשׂ סֻכַּת שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל עַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלָיִם.“
Hashkiveinu ADONAI eloheinu l’shalom, v’ha-amideinu malkeinu l’chayim;
Ufros aleinu sukat sh’lomecha,
V’tak’neinu b’eitza tova mil’fanecha,
V’hoshieinu l’ma-an sh’mecha.
The beauty of my granddaughter Harmony is that she will have a Christian Nana and a Jewish Bubbe, but the love is all the same. She will be surrounded by a family who adores her, and isn’t that what life is all about?