September 09, 2012

Have a Sweet Year: Clean the slate 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 Sunday, September 26 (beginning sundown), and Tuesday, September 18 (ending sundown). 

This my favorite time in the Jewish calendar. The previous month, Elul launches an extended period of reflection, introspection, and opportunity to return to our senses and to ask for forgiveness of ourselves, others, and the Breath of Life. A time to clean the slates and move on. This "rebooting" and "refreshing" are among the gifts of Rosh Hashanah.

The first day of the two-day 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 the women's firstborn sons, Ishmael and Isaac, was a partner to the abuse by letting it happen.

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

This season especially, we are called to reflect, reawaken, make amends, and change.

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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