Blessing the Torah before a public reading is called an aliyah, which is translated as “going up.” We read Torah every Monday and Thursday, as well as on holidays and other festive days. Today happens to be Rosh Chodesh Elul – the beginning of the Jewish month Elul, so at services this morning we read Torah. I was asked to take an aliyah and recite the first blessing. It’s an honor to do so, so I accepted (and, well, you aren’t supposed to decline anyway).
I was nervous for a few reasons. The first is that I was with all my colleagues, many of whom speak Hebrew natively. The second reason was because I have never, ever done this by myself. I’ve done it with groups of people and oftentimes with Mr. Ex. But never alone.
So there I was, alone, blessing the Torah. I was lucky to be surrounded by my friends and colleagues, as well as my beloved former boss/principal, who was the rabbi for the service. I whispered to her that it was the first time I had done this alone, which was pretty significant because of my divorce earlier in the week.
A. Powerful. Moment.
I made it through the aliyah just fine; no stumbling or anything. After I was done I totally indulged myself and said that it was the first time I had done it alone. The group spontaneously responded with singing a mazel tov to me – kind of a Jewish “for she’s a jolly good fellow.”