Sunday, September 13, 2015

A New Year, A New Perspective, A New Prayer

I am both happy and sad to see this year come to a close and the next one begin. There have been some great times of celebration and also moments that I wish we could forget. It has been a year of polar opposites that has left many of us tired and longing to begin anew… to have a fresh start… to enjoy another chance at seeing the calendar change with only joy filling the previous months. Next year, I hope.

Interestingly, the Rosh Hashanah holiday contains the same paradox as that which I feel when looking back over the year. As is posted on the Aish website:

The holiday of Rosh Hashanah contains a paradox. On the one hand, we are taught that Rosh Hashanah is the judgment day of mankind. The righteous are granted another year of life, the wicked are slated for destruction, and the average are given until Yom Kippur to mend their ways and merit another year (Talmud Rosh Hashanah 16b).

“We should be begging G-d for another year of life in the hope we can influence our judgment for the better. G-d’s court is convened. Our books are open. This is our big chance to pray for life.”

In addition to restarting the relationships we have for others through the admission of our faults, sins, and wrongdoings, we also make the same plea to G-d for forgiveness. While I can’t honestly say that I am one to give a clean slate to some people, I do my best to admit my mistakes and try my hardest to move past the wrongdoings of others. This is definitely easier said than done.

However, one of the things that has become more apparent to me over this past year in general and over the past couple of weeks in particular is the need that we have, my wife and I, to reconnect with G-d and the Jewish community in general. We need to do this not just for ourselves but, more importantly, for our son. We want him to know the world and his creator, we want him to understand and embrace all the aspects of faith, family, love, and life that make him who he is and make him such a precious gift in this world. After all…

“The purpose of the world is that mankind recognizes G-d and makes the world a reflection of His glory. G-d judges each of us on Rosh Hashanah not just based on our deeds, but based on how much we were a part of that grand mission. By identifying with and praying for G-d’s kingship to be revealed, we demonstrate that we want to be a part of the world’s purpose. We restart our relationship with G-d and redevote ourselves to Him. True, we might not have been perfect this past year, but we know what the world is about and we want to be a part of it. We want another year of life. We want to make the world a better place.”

Basically, I want him to not have the long list of things at the end of the year for which to ask for forgiveness like his father. I want him to not only have every opportunity in life but the confidence, conviction, faith, love, and support to take advantage of those opportunities. I want him to forever be a gift unto the world regardless of the path he chooses to take in life. I just want him to be a better man than I have thus far proven to be in this life and not look back with the same regrets. This is what I hope this and every new year brings.