Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Early Is One Thing, But This Is Ridiculous!



...In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. -Leviticus 16:24

The Symbols of Rosh Hashanah

It didn’t occur to me until this morning that some of the blogs that I have posted recently, especially yesterday, have served as my way of preparing for Rosh Hashanah (which is showing up this year earlier than a needy party guest looking for attention). Whether it is my own subconscious or divine guidance, I feel that I am in a much calmer mindset heading into the High Holy Days than I have been in the past largely because of the writing I have done lately. I like to think that it is G-d’s way of looking after me and showing His approval for many of the decisions that I have made this past year.

It has been a year of many changes, opportunities, and challenges. While I can’t say that I am happy with where I am, I am content with who I am. It has been a long time since I have had that feeling and while I will look to improve various aspects of my life (you may recall my half year resolutions) I at least know that I am starting off from a good place.

It has been a year of great memories and moments that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. From the trips my wife and I have taken and witnessing the life changing events in my family to reigniting my passion for writing and forging a bond with my community and with my heritage. There have also been moments of sadness that while difficult to experience they have brought me to this point in my life.

Introspection is at the heart of this holiday. Not just remembering the events of the past year but also thinking about the ways that G-d has shown Himself during those times and the gifts that we have been given. It is a time to make changes, much like the resolutions made in the changing of the Gregorian calendar, and think about the ways things might have been handled differently. It is a time to embrace life and let go of past wrongdoings. It is a time to come to terms with yourself and your Creator.

If you put forth the effort, this is a beautiful time of year. This is a holiday that removes some of the burdens of life, lifts you up, and kindles the flame that brightens your future. So before the silence is broken by the sound of the Shofar, take a step back and reflect upon your life, appreciate what you have, and forget about what you don’t need.

L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem!
(May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year!)

For more information about Rosh Hashanah, please visit the Judaism 101 and/or Chabad.org websites (of course, you can get some really good information from your local synagogue(s) too). 

If you are looking for a way to give back during this time of year I recommend making a donation (tzedakah) to the Jewish National Fund and/or to the Lone Soldiers Program run by the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces. Of course, Nefesh B'Nefesh is a good one too. With all the recent turbulence in the region both organizations need help now more than ever.