Life is settling down into blessed routine. Yom tov was wonderful, B”H. Although very hectic as usual, there were so many special moments I feel grateful for. But after weeks of cooking and serving and then doing it all over again, I am ready for routine.

As I was putting away the last of yom tov I found my mind wandering to many past yomim tovim. The family dynamics are constantly changing. As the children grow older and mature, the conversations change. The chol hamoed trips change, and even the kind of food I cook changes. When my kids were all little, I couldn’t imagine that the day would come when I’d have mostly big children, ka”h. It is amazing to watch as the family’s flavor changes with the different emerging personalities. And I feel so grateful for the home and the atmosphere that is being created.

I also found myself looking back at this past year. So many tragedies have happened – it was a very turbulent year. Unfortunately, the year before was also difficult. We all feel this galus, and I think with each passing year we yearn with more longing for Mashiach. In the emotion-laden tefillah of U’nesaneh Tokef we say, “M’i Ba’eish?” But this year we truly understood what those words mean. Last year, did any parents saying those words imagine that seven of their children would perish in a fire? What about the parents who davened for shidduchim for their children? Could they have imagined that these precious daughters would be killed in a car accident while on vacation? That instead of bringing their children to the chuppah, they would bring them to kevurah? Or the girl that did become a kallah – how could she have imagined that her simchah would be turned upside-down when her chassan and parents would die in an accident? It can be so quick. A young mother who is healthy one Rosh Hashanah can become sick and pass away by the next Rosh Hashanah. And icy conditions can create almanos and yesomim within seconds.

Although I am very much not up-to-date with current events, it seems as if the tragedies don’t end. What is going on In Eretz Yisrael is frightening, and the deaths of so many innocent people is heartrending.

I used to feel so secure. I thought all that stuff that happens, happens to other people. Not to me. Not even to anyone that I know. It is awful, but it won’t be me. And even once it did happen to me, I still felt certain that it wouldn’t be me again. I was safe.

But as I get older, I don’t feel that way anymore. The ground under my feet is shakier. I do not know what Hashem has in store for me or my family. Today I feel grateful that B”H we are here, and we are all healthy. But I feel a certain anxiety, hoping and praying that these blessings will iy”H stay with us for tomorrow and all the tomorrows until next Rosh Hashanah.

AS I bentched licht on the first night of Rosh Hashanah this year, and I said the berachah of shehechiyanu, I felt such strong gratitude to Hashem.  Here I was zoche to once again celebrate a Rosh Hashanah. I was zoche to have another chance to do teshuvah and to work on myself. I was zoche to spend another Rosh Hashanah with my family. Maybe that is why I was able to enjoy yom tov so much. Yes it was busy, tiring, hectic and, at times, overwhelming. But the warm feeling that I experienced on the first night of yom tov as I said that shehechiyanu stayed with me throughout. Hashem has given me so many berachos this past year. Each time we spend together as a family I am able to access that hakaras hatov for all that He has given me.

I don’t know what this upcoming year holds for me. But I continue to daven that iy”H it should continue to bring me berachah and more berachah. I hope that it will bring all of Klal Yisrael lots of berachah. And this year we should be zoche to say the berachah of shehechiyanu upon the arrival of Mashiach.

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