September 09, 2012

Have a Sweet Year: Clean the slates and move on.

The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, falls on the 1st and 2nd days of the month Tishrei in the year 5773 on the Hebrew calendar (also called the Jewish calendar). In 2012, the coinciding secular dates are Sunday, September 26 (beginning sundown), and Tuesday, September 18 (ending sundown). 

This my favorite time in the Jewish calendar because this season especially we are called to reflect, reawaken, make amends, and improve ourselves.

The Hebrew month Elul launches the extended period of personal "rebooting" and "refreshing" through textual study, tidying up ourselves and the spaces where we dwell, and asking forgiveness from our fellows and the Breath of Life for our wrongdoing, or having missed the mark.

The first day of the two-day Rosh Hashanah festival, in the morning prayer service we read the Torah portion about Sarah, one of four foremothers who treated her maid, Hagar, abusively. The Torah commentator Nahmanides (Ramban), a leading medieval Jewish scholar, teaches that Abraham, the father of both women's firstborn sons, Ishmael and Isaac, was a partner to Sarah's abuse by letting it happen.

Ask yourself, Am I like Sarah or Abraham in this reading of the Torah portion? Am I an abuser? A passive, willing bystander? Or do I regard and treat respectfully all chips off The Block of Being?

Wishing everyone in the coming year health, sanity, learning, giving, and occasions to dance, sing, comfort, laugh, remember, praise, and bless.

I first published this post on September 12, 2007

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