Posted by Riva on 8/19/2020 to
Just thinking about Rosh Hashana 2020 gives me a headache. I can not imagine what the holiday will look or feel like. It is hard to believe that 6 months have gone by with little change in the pandemic. While most states have opened up a little or a lot, our behaviors for the most part have not changed. I still wear a mask and social distance outside. I shop online or do curbside pickup. I haven't seen my grandchildren in New Jersey since December of last year. And I do not know when I will get to see, hold, kiss them.
I never thought it would last this long. I had tickets to visit back in June, which of course I cancelled. They were supposed to visit me this August, which of course they cancelled. Now we are talking about maybe Succot. Who knows.
But this Rosh Hashana will not only be about another lonesome Yontif without the family. While the complete details have not been finalized, our shul is talking about a much shorter davening, more minyaning scattered in various rooms throughout the shul, perhaps blowing shofer behind the shul in the alley, for those who are more at risk and can not enter the shul building. Will I feel safe enough to go to shul myself? I don't know.
What I do know is that Covid 19 gives new meaning to the essence of the holiday. In the past, we have gone to pray, asking for a sweet new year, with a mindset that everything will be ok. Our prayers are heartfelt and sincere, but for most of us, we just can not think the unthinkable. Covid 19 reminds us that the unthinkable happens, and can happen at any time in any place and to anyone. It reminds us that however much we think we are in control, we are fooling ourselves. Our lives, the lives of our loved ones and our livelihoods are all in the hands of Hashem.
The shortened davening, the small groups of worshippers and our lonely dinner tables will bring the strongest reminder to value what is important in our lives and thank G-D for every blessing he gives us.