I woke up this morning at 5am when Ari went to selichos, and I realized that I had forgotten to do any Rosh Hashana tefila prep with Chana. We didn't go through the Torah readings in advance, or talk about Rosh Hashana, or anything.
So in the morning, I asked Chana if she would be willing to set aside an hour to go through the machzor with me in preparation for davening. She agreed.
First, we went through Shacharis shemona esrei. I post-it-ed for her, and showed her where it differs from the basic shemona esrei. I showed her the bolded statements ("remember us for life" etc.) and I decided not to go through the "uv'chen ten"s, all those extra paragraphs in the 3rd bracha. I figured she knows she can read or say any part in English, and it will give her something new to read and think about on the day. I showed her the kedushas hayom, the part of shemona esrei that is special for Rosh Hashana, and showed her where the final 3 brachos were, and back to familiar territory, showing her the bolded statements she has to add in.
That is her basic chiyuv, and if she runs out of steam in shul, that is what she has to make sure she says.
Then we moved on to musaf. I wasn't sure how to handle it, so I asked her how she wanted to go about it. She said I should read it in English and explain it to her. She didn't want to read it, didn't want to translate it, and wanted to sit passively. As a general rule, Chana is a kinesthetic learner, and loathes sitting and listening passively to anything. She tunes out quickly. However, she clearly stated she didn't want to be an active participant, so I figured it makes sense to listen to her.
I showed her the beginning, again noting the bold statements, and showed her the "uv'chen ten"s. Then I talked about how musaf talks about the korbanos. She rolled her eyes (we just finished Vayikra) so I said they'll sound familiar to her. Then I went through Malchiyos, Zichronos, and Shofaros with her.
In Malchiyos I emphasized how the other nations believe in hevel varik but we bow to the Creator and that we hope all nations will stop doing idolatry and recognize Hashem as King. We skipped over the pesukim. I just said that there are 3 pesukim from torah, tehilim, and navi. Chana noted that it says in many places that Hashem is King. I explained the bracha that Hashem rules over the whole land and makes Israel and Yom Hazikaron holy. We talked a little about why Rosh Hashana is the day of Remembrance. (And asked the question, does Hashem ever forget?)
In Zichronos, Chana asked why the previous bracha talks about remembrance if the next bracha is remembrance. I said Hashem's kingship implies remembrance, and that's what we speak about next. In that bracha, I talked about how there is no need to present an image or try to pretend we don't feel what we feel or don't think what we think, because Hashem knows everything, and there is a certain relief in that. Chana disagreed a bit and said that thinking that someone knows secrets you don't want anyone to know is disconcerting. I read in the tefila that Hashem knows everything and sees everything, and that this day is the anniversary of Creation (of man), and it became a law for us to focus on Hashem's remembrance on this day of the anniversary.
I read that on this day it is decided what happens to different nations; war, peace, famine, enough food. And this is also for all the people, and everyone is remembered on this day. Fortunate is the person who doesn't forget You, Hashem. Because those who seek You never stumble.
This intrigued Chana. She brought up the four who went into Pardes and said, "Didn't people who seeked Hashem go crazy?" (That was a tough question!) I ended up saying that trying to become closer to Hashem or thinking about what Hashem would want can help us and that even if we stumble, it can be for growth.
Then I reviewed the pesukim of how Hashem remembered Noach and the Jews in Egypt and the bris. And we talked about the Akeida and how Avraham conquered his feelings do do Hashem's will, and will Hashem's mercy conquer his anger.
Then we talked about Shofaros, and I asked when she thought Hashem was revealed in the cloud of His glory. She guessed Succos or in the desert when He was leading them where to go. I said it's talking about Har Sinai. And how there was lightning and thunder and and the voice of the shofar increasing. And how the shofar proclaims the King. And Chana asked if the Shofar would sound for the Final Judgment. She was making a joke and I said the pesukim do say it will proclaim Moshiach.
All that took about half an hour.
Ksiva V'chasima Tova!