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Shehecheyanu (Who has granted us life)

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Shalom Sivan, this is Chagit Rhein. 14 years ago, on Rosh Hashanah eve, I was preparing to light the candles. This was a month and half after my son, Benaya Rhein, fell in the Second Lebanon War. Over the holiday candles we bless "שהחיינו וקיימנו והגענו לזמן הזה“,”who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion." I stood over the candles and I felt that I was not capable of making this blessing sincerely. I wanted to bless from the heart, and I felt that this would be fake. How could I say "who has granted us life" when my son had just been killed? I stood over the candles with tears in my eyes. I prayed for the strength and the proper insight in order to bless with joy.

After a period of time that seemed like eternity, I suddenly looked around. I saw our seven children, the son-in-laws, the daughter-in-laws, the grandchildren, and suddenly I understood: Yes, "who has granted us life."Say thank you for all that you have, for the tremendous abundance in your life that cannot be taken for granted in any way.I felt my heart open and I shouted: "Who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion!" I think they heard me all the way to Kalkilya. . . I have always endeavored to preserve the understanding gained at that moment so that it would not go away, but would rather become my worldview. If only all of us could succeed this year in changing our perspective by looking around us and inside of us to see the good within the present crisis, to be joyful that we have arrived at Rosh Hashana 5781, having been granted the gift of life."


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