I spent this past Shabbat at my daughter’s 9th grade high school for my parents’ annual Shabbat.
One of the highlights of a beautiful Shabbat was at the end of the third meal when the sun fell over the horizon and we mothers and daughters sat together in a huge circle to sing soulful End of Shabbos songs.
When we sang in my heart, I was transferred to a galaxy far away long ago. When I was 19, not much older than my daughter, I took my first steps towards Jewish compliance in Neve. Experience so many premieres – my first Raschi, my first Netilat Yedayim, my first blessing before eating and of course my first miraculous Shabbos. Ahh, how I loved Shabbos.
And one of the highlights of these wondrous first shabboses was sitting with the other girls in the Neve cafeteria and singing soulful end-of-shabbos songs from our NCSY bankers. My favorite song of all was Achenu: Achenu kol beit Yisrael. Our brothers, the whole house of Israel, who are in trouble or captivity, whether they stay on the sea or on the dry land. May God have mercy on them … “
And yesterday, when the light crawled into the darkness in front of the windows, the voice of a 14-year-old classmate from Moriah came: “Oh-ey-nu, Kol Beit Yisrael!” And I remembered singing this song at the age of 19 in the Neve cafeteria. 2 years before I met my husband and many years before I became a mother. And there I was yesterday and sang the same song among so many girls who sang with their eyes closed and with all my heart, as I did then and still do today.
And tears came to my eyes as I thought of how the words of the Acheynu prayer had been recited by Jews for thousands of years. And they still are today. And it will continue to be as long as Jews are walking on earth.
I am part of this chain, I thought, connected to my daughter, who passes on this tradition, link for link, generation for generation. A tradition that is infinitely greater than a single person, that spans lifetimes and binds us to one another and to something that goes beyond us infinitely.
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