When you read this, I will be in the midst of celebrating, Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Like most religious holidays, it includes prayer and food. However, it is so much more than that. It is the holiday of second chances.
Beginning tonight with Rosh Hashana, which commemorates the anniversary of the creation of the world, and concluding ten days from now with Yom Kippur, we are being judged. Scary connotations, I know. Who hasn’t gone astray? Done things they should not have? Said things that were hurtful to others? Let their potential go unfulfilled? I am confident when I say the answer to that series of questions is everyone. I know, for sure, I have. That is why we have this period, which is known as the 10 days of repentance.
Often behavior noted above leaves me disappointed with myself. Whether it is losing my patience with my children, arguing with my wife, gossiping about friends, or not showing the proper respect to my mom, (I‘ll stop there – no need to fill you in on all my dirty laundry) I have a whole load of missteps that I need to work on. I am not expecting perfection, and I am confident G-d does not expect that. In fact, I read somewhere that one of the major aims of this time period should be set up a plan and goals on how you will strive to be that better version of you.
Anyway, I think my reaction to my faults is probably typical. Wallowing, frustrated, disheartened are obviously feelings no one wants to experience. That is where the beauty of this holiday and time period come in. We can say: I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I’ll change. I will do better. And an all knowing G-d will hear us and recognize our sincerity. Get this – G-d can wipe the slate clean. It’s a burden lifted and an opportunity to move forward and strive to be more like the person you desire to be.
Isn’t that beautiful? I believe it is. So, while this is certainly a heavy time (and I don’t mean because of all the delicious food around – that’s a whole other topic) of year, it ultimately is a time of lightening one’s load. So, tonight and through these next 10 days, I will strive to let go and begin anew my quest to become a better me.