Teshuva, Tefila, Tzedaka – A Lover’s Guide From Rosh HaShana to Yom Kippur (Part 2 of 3)

A192 RoshHashanah II

Written by Dirty Di. Dirty Di is the author of Astray and Deborah and Aviva.

A note from the author: This is the second part of “Teshuva, Tefila, Tzedaka.” Click here to read part one!

“Teshuva, Tefila, Tzedaka” is the third part of a series called Holiday Indulgence. The series follows the adventures and misadventures of our heroine Malka Berkovich throughout the Jewish calendar, a fictional character that simply can’t resist celebrating and cherishing her Judaism.

Each installment can be read as a separate piece, although because of the character and the story’s development, I wouldn’t advise it. The first part, Shavuot, can be found here.


Rated RDAY 3 — Prayer with Kavanah

The loose trousers and the comfortable blouse Hannah told her to wear fooled her for a while, but it turned out it was all a complete and utter deception.

“You assured me we wouldn’t go to the synagogue again; you deceived me!”
“I did not! I told you we wouldn’t be going to any other prayer service,” Hannah explained. “And we are not.”

“And yet here we are, standing in front of the synagogue. Again. Dare I wonder why?”

“I know, I know, but hear me out. Technically, we are not going to the temple, okay? We are doing something different that happens to take place inside a building where people, among others, many, many things, come to pray.”

“You, dear, are a liar. You misled me to believe so—”

“Is it possible for you to trust me just once and indulge me? If you don’t like it, we can go right away and I won’t complain, I promise!”

It took Hannah another long round of reassurance to convince Malka, but she finally surrendered and they both went inside the building. Instead of going to the hall on the first floor like two days before, Hannah guided her to the stairs and went up to the third floor.

Apparently, Hannah had anticipated Malka’s reluctance because whatever was supposed to happen, it had not yet begun. She glanced around looking for something suspicious but nothing was really amiss. It was just a room with plastic chairs placed in a circle and a plastic table on a corner, covered with books.

A large notice board was resting on one of the walls with something on it. Malka approached and was surprised by what she read.

The Kavanah service is an experience in focused Jewish prayer, which combines tradition, meditation, and the rhythm of lively spiritual expression. Be prepared not only to participate in the beauty of Jewish prayer, but also the wonder and stimulation of open and honest Torah study during the service.

Turned out it was, after all, a prayer service, but not one Malka had ever experienced before. She was not a fan of meditation—she never managed to stay still for more than a few seconds at a time—but there was something about this that made her feel calmed and in sync with herself like never before.

They didn’t sing or hug or do any of the things Malka dreaded. Instead, she connected to herself while losing herself to the rhythmic music. It was mesmerizing and so different from what she’d heard before, and before she noticed, it was over.


DAY 4 — Shabbat Shuva

“I have something very important to tell you,” Hannah announced as she stepped out of the bathroom wrapped around a towel, still dripping from her bath.

“Do tell,” Malka said, raising her head from the book she was reading.

“Today is Shabbat Shuva ,” she said, matter-of-factly. “But,” she continued rapidly, before Malka could utter a word, “since you are looking all hot and bothered,” she dropped the towel to the floor, “and I am already naked,” she climbed to the bed, “and it’s actually a mitzvah to indulge in carnal pleasure in shabbat,” she straddled Malka’s hips and lowered her lips until they were just a breath apart from Malka’s, “I think I’ll forgo your learning for the day and let us focus in more, let’s say, pleasurable activities, shall we?”

Malka didn’t need to be told twice.

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Dirty Di has the stuff that you want; she is the thing that you need. So if you're feeling devious, and looking glamorous, let’s get mischievous and polyamorous, because you live only once, so be sure you got it right. And if you don't, try again.