Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, 2019 begins on of Sunday, September 29th at sunset and ends in the evening on Tuesday, October 1st. Below is an excerpt from a beautiful writing by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. Its message is Universal and I hope you will be inspired by it as I was.
What does Rosh Hashanah say to us?
Life is short. However much life expectancy has risen, we will not, in one lifetime, be able to achieve everything we might wish. How shall we use life well? We know that we will not finish the task, but neither are we free to stand aside from it. That is the first truth of Rosh Hashanah.
Life itself is the gift of God. Life is not something we may take for granted. If we do, we will fail to celebrate it. Yes, we believe in life after death, but it is in life before death that we truly find human greatness.
Life is meaningful. We are not mere accidents of matter, generated by a universe that came into being for no reason and will one day, for no reason, cease to be. We are here because a loving God brought the universe, and life, and us, into existence – a God who knows our fears, hears our prayers, believes in us more than we believe in ourselves, who forgives us when we fail, lifts us when we fall and gives us the strength to overcome despair.
Life is not easy. Life may be hard, but it can still be sweet, the way the challah and the apple are on Rosh Hashanah when we dip them in honey. It is to learn and never stop seeking, to pray and never stop thanking, and never stop growing. In this lies the secret of joy. Life is sweet when touched by the Divine.
Our life is the single greatest work of art we will ever make. On Rosh Hashanah we step back from our life like an artist stepping back from his canvas, seeing what needs changing for the painting to be complete.
For we defeat death, not by living forever but by living by values that live forever; by doing deeds and creating blessings that will live on after us; and by attaching ourselves in the midst of time to God who lives beyond time.
The Hebrew verb lehitpalel, “to pray,” more precisely means “to judge oneself.” On Rosh Hashanah we stand in judgment. We know what it is to be known. And though we know the worst about ourselves, God sees the best; and when we open ourselves to Him, He gives us the strength to … live life in the presence of God, to sanctify life for the sake of God, and to enhance the lives of others – for where we bring blessings into other lives, there God lives.
We wish all our Jewish friends and family,
God’s Blessings and a good
Source: What Rosh Hashanah Says to Us, September 21, 2019, by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks