You may recall after the High Holy Days, I voiced my frustration at not knowing what I was praying during all those hours of services. I put out a message to our current rabbis and to our former rabbi asking for their help.
Today my husband and I had our first lesson with Toby, our rabbi from 2 years ago and one of the best teachers I have ever encountered.
On the ride into town, I verbalized some of my thoughts about embarking on this project to better understand. I wondered if perhaps I might be disappointed when I finally figure out what it is I have been praying. I wondered if when I finally understand the Hebrew, I will no longer think about its meaning, much as I said the Pledge of Allegiance day after day in school with not a thought to its meaning or said The Lord’s Prayer ever Sunday without pondering phrases like “hallowed be Thy name”. I wondered if my current ignorance of the meaning actually allowed me to evolve my own personal meaning without being forced to comply with what the words actually mean. I wondered if Israelis (who speak Hebrew and) who pray those prayers every day or every week pay much attention to their meaning. So many things to think about.
Our classes with Toby are starting at the very beginning of our weekly worship service. We will go prayer by prayer, talking about historical context, the words and their meanings, and how those same words show up in other places.
It’s a fascinating process. I have immediately reaffirmed how well qualified Toby is to teach this subject and how well she has already figured out how to best impart this knowledge to us.
On the way home after having my head packed with Hebrew words, I remarked about how lucky we were to have the time to do this. Many people our age are still slaving away at full-time jobs. Instead I am fortunate enough to study piano, music theory, and now Hebrew. Hopefully my brain is up to the task of expanding just a little further as I ask it to grasp some new bits of knowledge and make sense of them.