Boy, this month (Tishrei, September, you take your pick) is a busy one. I feel like we just finished our Rosh Hashana davening and now it’s already time for Kol Nidre. Before we head off to shul, I’m whipping up that peach noodle kugel I told you about yesterday for our break-fast tomorrow night, and I’m simmering some meatballs in my crock pot for our seudah ma’afseket.
Now that I have little kids, I find Yom Kippur especially challenging. I’m sure I’m not the only one. When I was single and living in Jerusalem, I’d spend the whole day davening. I’d feel as though I had walked through an emotional firestorm by Neilah. I’d stand there, knees weak but spirit strong, begging G-d, “Please, hear my prayers. Please. Please, know the sincerity that is in my heart.” Tears would stream down my face and I’d think, “This is it. This is your opportunity, Mara. Make good on it.”
Juxtapose that emotional depth on Yom Kippur to my experiences now that I’m married, a mother (thank G-d) to three, always either pregnant or nursing, it seems. As a friend said to me on Rosh Hashana, I have a different kind of avoda today. I change diapers and birth babies and nurse them and teach them and hug them and cuddle them. This is my service to Hashem right now.
And while I really do find it incredibly meaningful — beyond words — I still struggle with figuring out how to fit that kind of ‘service’ in with the scraping-the-depths-of-my-soul kind of service I used to do on Yom Kippur.
I’m planning to stay home tomorrow with my kids. I’m still nursing my 15 month old, and since she’s sick, she’s nursing even more than normal… all of which is to say, I don’t doubt that this fast will be a challenge. (I’m a lousy faster to being with.)
In that vein, I really appreciated reading this post from A Mother in Israel about fasting on Yom Kippur for pregnant or nursing women. If you find yourself in that situation, you might appreciate it as well.
Wishing you all an easy and meaningful fast and a G’mar Chatima Tova. May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.