Rosh Hashana Thoughts
I found myself sitting in shul on Rosh Hashana, wishing I was a Reform Jew. Not because I wanted to drive to shul, and not because I wanted to sit next to my wife. The reason is because, comparitavely speaking, they care more about Rosh Hashana than I do. To the Reform Jew that may go to shul only a few times a year, taking off work and school for Rosh Hashana is a big deal. In a sense, their experience of Rosh Hashana is probably more like what it is supposed to be than mine: Rosh Hashana, to them, is the pinnacle of the Jewish year. Unfortunately, for me, in the routine of living every day as an Orthodox Jew, it is and was not.
Now, I think the problem lies in me more than it lies in the "system". That said, as I see it, when you live life 365 days a year as an Orthodox Jew, constantly trying to remember to daven 3 times a day; checking that bag of chips to make sure it has a Hechsher (but not Triangle-K, of course!); patting my head on the way to school to make sure my head is covered, it's only a bit natural that Rosh Hashana can get caught up in the mix of things. After all, the day before Rosh Hashana I was a frum Jew, and the day after Rosh Hashana I was still a frum Jew, so what's the big deal if I slack a little on Rosh Hashana? I found myself with these exact thoughts in shul on the first day of Rosh Hashana.
I suppose this is my test, as I sure it is many others' test in Judaism: to find meaning in the often mundane routine that is Orthodox Judaism. This test will be even harder for me over the next 3 years, as I give my best shot at law school. With more time, the test to find meaning in things is aided by daily shiurim, chavrusas, and other time for individual learning or reading. For me, the week leading up to Rosh Hashana consisted of spending most of my waking time in the library and with the only free time I had trying to catch up with my wife on how her days had been going. Erev Rosh Hashana consisted of school from 9:15-6:10pm. After rushing home to shave and shower, I found myself in shul on Rosh Hashana. The Sifrei Chaim and Meisim (Books of Life and Death) were open in front of me, and I couldn't help but think that the "Two-Times-a-Year" Jews all over the world were more properly prepared to file in from of Hashem like "Kivnei Maron" than I was.