Monday, September 28, 2009

Just as Holy

I spent Erev Yom Kippur in tears.

It was just nerves, I think. I always get this way before a fast. There's this anticipation of what it will turn out like, all these questions and worries in my mind. Will I fast okay? Will the kids behave? Will I manage them on my own? Will I get to daven? All that stuff and just general nerves of getting everything right.

This year nothing went right.

The day before was just a disaster, with my son kvetchy and bratty since the wee hours of the morning (he's still getting over a flu he had last week). I had to entertain him, plus do a mountain of laundry, (my daughter has some reflux and she vomits indiscriminately,) plus take care of baths for everyone and the meals and telling all the neighbor girls that no, it was not a good time for them to take a guided tour of my home.

(Why is it that they are all so enamored by our little family? There are a million girls on the block that each have great toy rooms and games and yet they all want to play with JB's trucks?!)

I bentched lecht, put the kids to bed, and exhausted, fell asleep with my machzor in my hands.

Upon waking half an hour later I found I was miserable. It's been years since I've missed a Kol Nidrei in shul. And this year I didn't even want to go.

I sat there in front of my lecht and just cried at how Yom Kippur didn't feel the same to me- I was in my robe, wearing a shmattah velour hoodie on top of it, and not even in a sheitel. The white tichel that I wore with so much pride all the years sat in my drawer all yom tov. I didn't put my sheitel on once today.

I spent the entire day on the floor playing with Tonka trucks. My machzor in one hand as I tried to daven, the mini wheels garbage truck in the other, crashing into JB's emergency vehicle, keeping him quiet.

My kids ate junk today and I didn't care. I forgot to turn off the light in my fridge, so all the nutritional stuff I prepared erev YT just stayed there. JB ate potato chips and sandwiches and lots and lots of Twerps, and HB had a bunch of formula bottles and not an ounce of real food except for the Craisins JB generously fed her while I was in the middle of my Al Chaits.

And when my kids both went down for a nap, I did too. My tehillim this year didn't even make it off the shelf.

It just didn't feel like Yom Kippur to me.

Then my mother popped by on the way back to shul after the break between Shacharis and Mussaf and when she asked how my fast was going and I told her how I felt, she said it was okay.

That I had my years in shul as a teen, and I'll have them again when my kids are teens. But now my place is at home.

She's right, I know. It just took a lot of getting used to. I'm still not sure I'm used to the idea and next year won't be any easier not being in shul for Unesaneh Tokef. But the truth is... well, that's the truth.

For me Yom Kippur is the avodah I do with my children all day. Feeding them, playing with them, singing songs and reading playgroup "shailos" thousands of times makes this day just as holy for me as being in shul makes it for everyone else.

So when my mother left and I took my nap and then woke up and took the kids outside to play, I didn't let myself feel bad. I fasted, I davened, and I made two kids happy today.

Other years I prayed for these two kids, this year they're here with me. What more can I want?

So the holiest day of my year smelled like peanut butter and spit up, instead of leather bindings and old machzor pages.

Guess what. G-d gave me a job. And He made me a mom to two very special and wonderful kids. And that makes me heilig. Even when I spent Yom Kippur playing with trucks.

May we all see the kedusha in everything we do this year.

Have a gut gebentched yahr everyone.

Oh, and two updates.

#1 - HB finally got her place in the nosh cabinet. She's not really a jelly ring like we first thought she might be. She's BUBBLES. (Short for BubbleGum) She answers to it and the neighbors call her that, so it's official. JellyBean's sister is Bubbles.

And #2 - Tzipi's next book is due out Chanukah time. It's titled "Invisible Me" and being published by Targum Press IY"H. I'll keep you posted!


Ruchie said...

You're so special. So normal, yet so special and inspirational. I learn so much from your blog. I should especially save this one for when I have a family of my own, IY'H.

tziporah said...

cant wait to read your new book!!!!!!!!!!!!

itsagift said...

Oh wow. Just what I needed to hear after my yom kippur this year...Hashem gave mommies a job, and that is - to raise the next generation and give them all the love and warmth they need to grow up to be really happy.
Thanks for this post!!!

Staying Afloat said...

I hear you so much...

I think this is the first year I felt t 100% comfortable with the davening I did versus playing with and teaching my kids. It only took ten years...

Also, if there's a holiday to leave your fridge light on, it's Yom Kippur. Can you imagine if it was Rosh hashanah?

Yasher koach.

Freeda said...

oh and I highly recommend the book. It's a great read. Not your typical Jewish novel that most of us have had enough of...

tembow said...

Another great post!
Thanks :)

Rachelli Dreyfuss said...

Wow. really inspiring! such a great way to spend your Yom Kippur: appreciating all you have, accepting your place for the new year, and cherishing it!
I had a bad day today, and this really gave me some chizuk to keep going for another day! thanks "tzipi!"
(btw, SO EXCITED FOR YOUR NEW BOOK!!! i will buy it the second it comes out!)
Keep posting!<3

Meeee said...

YES. And yes again, just as holy. I went to a women's shiur on Shabbos Shuva and this is exactly what the Rav spoke about. How Avraham Avinu, Aharon Hacohen, and Dovid Hamelech each spent MANY hours involved in seemingly gashmiushdik things. And while they would have surely preferred to spend those hours learning or davening or being involved in spiritual matters, they knew and understood the time and place for all those things that probably made their hearts tug in the opposite direction. It is the obligation of every jew to recognize the balance of what Hashem wants from us and to appropriately juggle every day matters from (what appear to be) spiritual ones. There's not enough space here to detail the entire shiur, but for example, the Rav said he did not see anywhere that food cooked quicker in the days of Avraham and all the time he spent preparing for the malachim was all physical work. And the conversation was 'chol' as well, he didn't engage them in conversation about G-d until the very end when they wanted to say thank you and he said to thank Hashem. And Aharon Hacohen could not have made sholom unless he took time to befriend the people, shmooze, and then get them to open up to him about their else would he know of the machlokesim going on?? (Unless they did what OD's do in camp and stand behind the bunkhouses after lights out? Yes, he said this! But all kidding aside, Aharon didn't just approach Reuvain and tell him he heard he's in an argument with Shimon etc...)
So...yes, it definitely takes getting USED TO, I don't know if I was ever able to make complete peace with it either. In fact, I actually just got to shul for kol nidrei for the FIRST time in 14 years! And it all fell into place when I looked around and saw (why I was surprised I don't know!) an ezraz nashim full of girls 9-19 years old and women over 50. So, my dear, and to all of you mommies out there, in the right time, you will be back in shul too. But there's no doubt that now we belong at home even though we crave OUR OWN spirituality at the same time. Very normal and very healthy. Rebetzin Jaeger says that a person is judged on his/her aspirations and thoughts and innermost desires as well, so keep that in mind.
The Rav ended off by saying (and this is not even a fraction of the shiur, but the tip of the iceberg)that it is a challenge to the men in shul to keep up the kavanah, (we know that davening without kavanah is like a 'guf b'li neshoma'), but the women who get 'schar of machshava k'maaseh' really have the much better deal!
Hatzlocha in all the years to come that may be frought with those inner battles, (not just on Yom Kippur, but every time we reach for our siddur only to hear our children needing us yet again!) and may we continue to have only struggles of this nature until we see the geulah, bimhaira b'yamainu!!!

Bas~Melech said...

Oh that works perfectly, because you can still use HB -- yknow, like Hubba Bubba bubble gum. So no identity crises ;-)

Oh... and nice post. Really.

Freeda said...

I just put up a mashal that I think describes this idea very apltly. Check out

Adina said...

I'm very excited for your new book!

Your feelings remind me of my first YK with 2 kids - one 19 months and the other 3 months - and lying on the couch during neilah when the only song I could think of to distact my older ds was "Old McDonald had a farm" and I was thinking how the rest of the city is davening neilah while I am on my couch which felt more like a boat because of dizziness singing "Old McDonald." It has gotten easier in the past few years though!

Anonymous said...

what's the book about?

nmf #7 said...

Wondered if you would post about your new book- then saw the P.S. to this post...
I just read Invisible Me, and let me tell you, it was awesome!!!