Die At Least Once: Rosh Hashanah Prayers: Second Blessing of Amidah
Towards the conclusion of “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” Giorgio returns home late at night and has a powerful conversation with his father. Giorgio is in love with Micol and must face the fact that there is no future for their relationship. His father says, “I also envy you a little. In life, if one wants seriously to understand how the world works, he must die at least once. And, since this is the rule, better to die young, when you still have so much time ahead of you to pull yourself together and resuscitate.”
I often experience Elul, the final month of the year, especially as it follows so closely on the heels of Tisha B’Av, as the type of death described by Giorgio’s father: Ever since the Garden, we associate sin with a taste of death. There is a part of me that mourns the mistakes of the past year. Each missed opportunity is a taste of death.
Rosh Hashanah calls to me with life; a chance to pull myself together and resuscitate. It offers a taste of Techiat Hameitim, the Resurrection of the Dead.
The second blessing of the Amidah: Gevurot, or Empowerment, also speaks of Techiat Hameitim. We use this blessing on Rosh Hashanah to celebrate the chance to resuscitate our lives over these two days of intense connection with God.
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