This morning I said my yearly goodbye to תחנון, Tachanun, literally asking for חן (Chen), “grace”, a psalm I recite most weekdays immediately after the Amida, the standing thrice-daily prayer that is the central feature of תפילה (Tefilla), prayer. Along with Tachanun, I won’t visit a number of other psalms and prayers for the next month, because we omit all of them the entire month of Nissan where we both join the tribal leaders in the desert as they celebrated inaugurating the משכן (Mishkan), the traveling, temporary Temple that accompanied us on all our journeys until שלמה המלך, King Solomon, was finally able to build a permanent home for the שכינה (Shechina), the Divine Presence, in Jerusalem, as well as anticipate the upcoming festival of פסח (Pesach), celebrating and renewing each year our freedom. In another two weeks we’ll also, for the week’s duration of Pesach, forego our תפילין (Tefillin).
It’s hard for me to imagine how I’ll survive, let alone continue to function very well without these great aids.
Actually, we’re challenged, as well as invited, to step up to a higher level of freedom and independence. We, for a while this time around, at least, have no need to beg for חן (Chen) since we’ll, if we can actually realize (and hopefully, one day soon, actualize it) that the Mishkan/Bet HaMikdash is now at hand. And, with a couple week of fortifying ourselves with that reality, the intense freedom that began that long-ago Pesach is ours for the taking.
P.S. Enjoy this music, Take A Giant Step, from the 1969 Taj Mahal album of the same name.