How was your Rosh Hashanah?
The answer that you give may surprise you by its overt dishonesty.
If your answer focused on how the meals went (and yes, there are three different kinds of answers to this loaded question) or if you are in a life situation where you have the means to have some guests, this question includes how you felt during the planning of the 4 meals, shopping (which can be elating or draining depending on your stress level and on your budget), serving the guests while hoping that somehow the atmosphere will be warm, and that the people who are with you will feel your care.
If you in Plan B, meaning that you are in a life situation where you are a guest, or this includes how you felt about yourself and others as you were examining your phone hoping that someone who you really want to spend time with invites you, and that if they do that they somehow strike the right balance in making you feel visible and welcome without leaving you feeling like either a burden or a piece of furniture.
If you are living at home, was the holiday as inspired as you wish it was? Did you wonder exactly what your role is as a (gulp) adult?) Your answer may have to do with the way you felt in shul. Did you have a good place, was the tefillah enthusiastic, did the words of the machzor speak to your heart? Were the other women friendly? Did you end up with a seat behind a pillar? Did you manage to look the way you want; cool but not ostentatious, original but not bizarre? Did the rabbi speak before the shofar blowing leaving you wondering why you didn’t think more about its significance until you have less than a moment to let it pierce through all the layers of distraction (both the conscious and unconscious kinds?).
If any of the above answers occupy much of your inner space, then there may be little room for the only answer that is real
“I don’t know. Ask me next year.”
Covid. Surfside. Meiron.
Beautiful weddings. Incredible moments of growth and joy
Sweet ordinary days
Days that may have redefined you, opened up places that were closed, changed things taking you where you never believed you would reach.
You may be wondering why I am writing a belated (and rather guilt provoking) message about a day that has already passed. The reason is twofold (what an archaic word. When was the last time you heard if from someone under 60?)
- Rosh Hashanah is referred to as “The day the world was born”, but it isn’t. It is the day that the first people were created. Each of you is a world. Your body follows the same pattern as Adam and Chava’s bodies down to the last subatomic particle in your DNA. The place from where Hashem took the earth is the same place where thousands of years later, the alter in the Bais HaMikdash was built. Your soul is in the image of your creator. You can define the world outside your own mini-world. You can elevate it or degrade it. You will be presented with all sorts of new possibilities this coming year. It’s not over till it’s over as Yogi Berra used to say.
- What you do is important. The Jews are .0005 of the world’s population. Our influence in the moral and spiritual realties can’t even be estimated. You make a difference with every response you make. And for that reason, its enormously important for you to realize that you are a significant, beloved, central part of the ongoing picture. You are able to still redefine who you want to be this year. You have time until Yom Kippur to delete the limitations, the painful failures, and the callouses you may have added to your formula for coping with life.
Tshuvah is not grim and guilt providing. It brings Hashem back to your life, as you reach out.
Its great! It is the only way to have time reverse. It’s a miracle. Enjoy every precious moment.