Meaning, they don't always mean what you think they mean.
Sometimes they do.
And sometimes, they mean something else.
The Wonderful Rosh Hashanah of 5780–and Its Outcome
Others also mentioned what a great Rosh Hashanah they experienced & the optimism they felt for the coming year.
A couple of months later, the covid virus hit the world.
Now, does that mean we didn't have a great Rosh Hashanah?
My belief then—which I still maintain—is that covid was meant to be a truly frightening plague, like the Black Plague or Spanish Flu rachmana litzlan, but the din got sweetened.
So we experienced what seemed like a particularly severe flu going around, and we experienced the results of a truly dangerous pandemic (quarantine, social distancing, all sorts of limitations, etc.)—all without actually experiencing the life-or-death horror a real plague brings.
Yes, I realize some people died and others suffered a lot. I saw that too.
It was definitely more severe, and for the immunity-vulnerable, much scarier than a regular flu season.
But as written HERE before, it was not the dangerous pandemic the media & governments made it out to be.
In contrast, the Spanish flu caused healthy young men symptoms in the morning & death by that same afternoon. Or the Black Plague, which decimated Europe's population by one-third.
So I feel like that WAS a great Rosh Hashanah after all!
I truly believe our prayers & intentions sweetened the covid din, that the pandemic was originally decreed to be much worse, but the decree got sweetened.
Tisha B'Av Elation?
That's really weird while being immersed in the most heartbreaking & traumatic day of the year.
Never felt that way before on Tisha B'Av.
I really started feeling high & later, my husband admitted he also developed a good mood around that time.
Yet around 2 hours before the end of the fast, I developed a splitting headache.
I usually fast well & am not prone to headaches, so this was very odd.
The truth is, I didn't prepare properly prior to the fast—didn't drink as much as required prior to a 25-hour fast.
I tried to last out the fast, but couldn't. I ended up drinking an hour before the fast went out, which was permissible in my situation, but felt wrong, especially so close to the end of the fast.
(It was SERIOUS pain.)
Yet emotionally, I felt elated & optimistic. (Also, I developed newfound empathy for people who suffer terrible headaches. Anything that develops our capacity for compassion is a good thing.)
What did that elation mean?
But since our Sages tell us that in the World to Come, Tisha B'Av will turn into a chag, a time of celebration, I'm hoping that elation was a harbinger of good things to come, that we no longer really need a mournful Tisha B'Av because the Geula is around the corner.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm holding on to this hopeful thought for now.
The Geshmak Rosh Hashanah of 5782
It was really geshmak.
Others also mentioned what a great Rosh Hashanah they experienced.
Some very desirable things also occurred, which hadn't before (will write about that in a later post).
Also, prior to this Rosh Hashanah, I managed to forgive (mostly) someone I'd never managed to forgive before. Last Elul, I sat down several times with Hashem & REALLY tried several times to forgive, but could not manage it.
And yeah, I know all the mussar about forgiveness, about how beneficial it is emotionally & spiritually, and how everything is from Hashem so it's all actually good, etcetera, etcetera...
I still couldn't do it. Not at all!
It was such a block. Why was I holding on to this grudge for years?
I needed to figure that out.
This year, for some reason, I managed to (mostly) forgive that person.
Despite feeling wonderful throughout Rosh Hashanah, late into the first night of Rosh Hashanah, I found myself weeping copiously for reasons I don't completely understand.
Does it mean anything?
Does the bout of weeping late into the first night or the wonderful feeling encompassing the rest of Rosh Hashanah mean anything?
I don't know.
I tend toward emotional intensity; that has been my personality my whole life. (I just restrain myself when around others, both for their sake & mine.)
So it could just be me being wonky. Or something else connected to the neshamah.
But for a variety of reasons, I see this past Rosh Hashanah was productive for a lot of people—including for people whose bitter personal situation did not allow them to "enjoy" it, but still utilized it for intense spiritual growth & connection (whether they perceived it that way or not).
A Story of Two Young Men Davening at the Gravesite of a Tzaddik
(Within a year, most people experience a positive turnaround in answer to their prayers there.)
The two decided to recite the entire Sefer Tehillim at the gravesite.
One recited the Tehillim with heartfelt fervor & experienced a wonderful certainty of revealed good for the coming year.
The other struggled to recite his Tehillim with heart & warmth, feeling instead a coldness & lack of connection in his davening.
After he completed the Sefer Tehillim, he mentally sought the reason for this blockage & acknowledged all sorts of transgressions he'd committed, realizing these transgressions likely contributed to the blockage.
Around 6 months later, both young men found new jobs within a week of each other (a sign that their davening at the gravesite "worked").
The young man who experienced heartfelt davening received a great job, which brought him a lot of happiness & satisfaction.
But the other young man, whose davening felt like a failure, received an even better job with much better conditions.
His result was even happier than the other's.
Why? What happened beneath the surface?
The Bitachon Weekly concludes (boldface mine):
We see from this story how every Tefila counts, and even when you think Hashem isn’t pleased with your Tefilos, He may Davka like them!
And maybe your broken heart is more precious than anything.
It's All about the Heart
This World is veiled.
It's an upside-down world.
So much depends on our sincerity.
Things aren't what they seem.
But we can feel good about everything.
We can feel good about having experienced a geshmak Rosh Hashanah.
And we can feel good about experiencing a Rosh Hashanah of pain & struggle.
And this applies to all spiritual efforts.
It's the heart that counts.
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Also, with regard to what feelings sometimes mean, please see this post about the Kav HaYashar: