Living Room Services

This Shabbat morning, we had originally planned to go to services at our synagogue, but because Gabe was still recovering from being sick yesterday, we decided to have our own services at home instead. Our living room faces east so it feels like a natural place for a little davvening. James and I donned our tallitot, Asa crawled around on the floor exploring a bag full of more bags, our cat Moonlight chased glints of sun, and Gabe lay on the couch.

It was a condensed version of Saturday morning services, hitting all the parts of the service that Gabe is learning for his bar mitzvah. For the first time in a long time, I chanted the morning blessings using the melody we use in synagogue. I didn't quite do it the way we do it there: opening words in Hebrew, specific blessing in chanter's choice of Hebrew or English. Instead, I did all the words of each blessing in Hebrew and then in English. I have grown attached to hearing all the words in both languages every day. (Poor Gabe wishes I would just get on with it...what he doesn't understand is that was an unusually fast rendition, for me!)

It is always interesting to hear the blessings in the context of the larger service after reciting them alone all week. I love them more and more the better I know them, which makes me wonder what the service would be like if I devoted that kind of attention to each prayer. Ah, such a rich and multi-layerered tradition we have!

This week's parsha is Lech Lecha, in which, among other things, Abram becomes Abraham after God makes a covenant with him. Reading it today made me think back a year ago to Asa's brit milah and brit atifah and what it meant to celebrate his birth with the an acknowledgement of the covenant. I did not hold such rituals for Gabe, but it feels like we are making up for that now as he prepares to become bar mitzvah.

[God] then took [Abram] outside and said, "Look at the sky and count the stars. See if you can count them." [God] then said to him, "That is how numerous your descendants will be."
~ Genesis 15:5 (translation by Aryeh Kaplan)

I do indeed feel myself to be one of those stars in the sky and that I have added another three to the multitude.

Baruch atah adonai eloheynu chey ha'olamim she'asani yisrael. Blessed are You, the Ancient One, Our God, Life of All the Worlds, who made me of the People Israel.

Blessed are You, the Fount of Knowledge, Our God, who has made us part of a rich and dynamic tradition.