Not Complete, but a Little More Whole

By Chris Reid

“Uv’khen ten pahdekha”. Words strangely familiar. Steps toward Yamim Nora’im. Steps along the path of taking our son, Ian, to children’s services; remnants of prayer lodging themselves in my mind. On this particular year – now more than twenty years ago – I was able to join Joan at Ne’ilah, walking in at the moment of this prayer.

“Uv’khen ten pahdekha”. Words soaring from the bimah, words soaring from the congregation. Radiant. Intense. Palpable. This was prayer seeking my attention.

Over the years, as I learned and as I studied Torah, as the cycle reverberated year on year, the Days of Awe have come to reside in my soul. The joy, music, and foods of Rosh Hashanah; asking to be shattered on Kol Nidre, to truly hear the prayer, to forgive and to seek repair. All leads to Yom Kippur, late in the afternoon, to Jonah and the re-telling of the terrible fate awaiting Nineveh. Or not. And the inexplicable ricinus plant. It may not happen every year, but I often find moments of true prayer interspersed among the nigunim. A silence, an awareness, a sense of true awe.

Each year I hear the last shofar blast, knowing that, though I am not complete, the service is complete and I can approach the next year a little more whole than the year just past.
“Uv’khen ten pahdekha”.

About Chris Reid

Chris has been a member of BJ since 1988. He converted to Judaism in March of 2016.