I was talking to my friend a day or two after Rosh Hashanah. “How are you doing, Shoshana?” I asked. Life had not been easy for her lately. She had wanted to quit her job so she could start keeping Shabbat, and I wasn’t sure how that was panning out.

“Oh, Sori,” she replied, tearing up, “I feel so sad and terrible. I worked both days of Rosh Hashanah, and it’s really sitting heavily on my heart.”

I felt at a loss. How could I comfort this beautiful Jewess? She was broken. How could I make her feel whole again? How could I tell her that G‑d loves her and can see her pain and her desire for teshuvah. I truly believe that. But is it my place to forgive? I was stuck.

And then it hit me, we would go find a place to do Tashlich. This is a ritual done on or after Rosh Hashanah, where we ask G‑d for forgiveness and “throw away our sins” by a pool of water where there are fish. Fish symbolize G‑d’s always-open eyes and desire for our return.

I texted my other friend to make sure that there were still fish in her pond and called Shoshana to join me, hoping that by doing something positive, we could alleviate some of her pain.

So here we were at the pond. I had already said Tashlich on Rosh Hashanah, but I must confess, I had sped through it. I said all the words but without much feeling or concentration.

This time I made sure to bring an English machzor.

I believe G‑d put it in my mind to choose this Tashlich prayer. I really had not been thinking of its meaning when I suggested it to Shoshana; all I had thought about was throwing away our sins. But as I read the prayer in English, I got a shock. It was like a balm to her sore heart. Like the words were just what she (and I) needed to hear right there. I got her to read the words out loud and as she read, I started to cry.

Who Is a G‑d like You
Who pardons iniquity
And forgives transgression
For the remnant of His heritage
He does not maintain His wrath forever
For He desires [to do] kindness
He will again show us mercy
He will suppress our iniquities;
And You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Show faithfulness to Jacob
Kindness to Abraham
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From the days of yore

We continued …

From out of distress I called to G‑d
With abounding relief, G‑d answered me.
The L-rd is with me,
I do not fear
What can man do to me?
The L-rd Is with me among my helpers
And I will see [the downfall of] my enemies.
It is better to rely on the L-rd than to trust in man.
It is better to rely on the L-rd than to trust in nobles.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before You, L-rd, my Strength and my Redeemer.

As she read it, tears flowed freely from our eyes and she resolved to improve in her Shabbat observance. I have never been so moved by any prayer. I felt G‑d in our presence, smiling down at us.

We finished our prayer. We both felt cleansed. We both felt like we had just had an embracing moment with G‑d. Sometimes, we think special moments of prayer can only happen in the synagogue, but for us, it came at the pond, two days after Rosh Hashanah.

Thank G‑d, things changed for my friend. Things started to shift in a different direction. It isn’t yet perfect, but the healing journey has begun.

Bring G‑d into your life. That is the point. Call out to Him. Ask Him for help, and with “abounding relief” G‑d will answer you.

You just have to make room to hear it.

G‑d loves our simplicity and our desire to connect to Him. May we all be able to pray correctly, with concentration, and connect to the highest level in Heaven! But know this: All it takes is one sincere prayer to propel all of our mediocre ones to the highest of heights.