New Year, New Dawn, Begin Anew
I always think of Autumn as the start of a new year for its religious and spiritual connection, and also from Mother Nature’s perspective. School is back, the leaves change and we harvest our crops. It’s a time to begin again.
It is at this time of year that we harvest our bounty according to the Law of the Farm. What we have sown and nurtured, we measure by what we reap.
Rosh Hashanah is a time to give thanks for life itself, and for allowing us to reach the New Year. We express gratitude for our harvest, however large or small it might be, by dipping traditional bread and apples in honey, to give thanks for the sweetness of the year to come.
We hope and pray we will have a “sweet” year ahead, that all our loved ones will be blessed with good health and happiness, and that people everywhere will be kind to one another. Whatever your religion or spiritual beliefs, these are universal hopes and prayers people all over the world have in common.
The Jewish religion has no word for sin. The closest word is “het” which means, “to miss the mark.” This is a very powerful metaphor, an enlightened and empowering way to frame our mistakes. Rather than punish ourselves for the “bad” things we have done, we see ourselves as off target. We want to hit the bulls-eye of life every time we take aim, but we are human and often, we miss the mark.
A tradition at the end of Rosh Hashanah is walking to a stream or river with crumbs in our pockets. We turn our pockets inside out and empty the crumbs into the water and watch them float away. This is symbolic of letting go of the remaining “crumbs” of past mistakes, transgressions, hurtful deeds, and all the other ways in which we missed the mark. We make ourselves “clean” and start the New Year fresh.
For 10 days, we say we are sorry to all the people we have hurt, treated unfairly or been unkind to, and ask their forgiveness. Today is the 10th day, Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the entire year for Jews. It is on this day that we are AT ONE with G-d. The shofar blows to signal the end of Yom Kippur. We are sealed in the book of life… or not.
I’ve always found it challenging that our fate for the year is “sealed” and we don’t know, won’t know and can’t know. On the other hand, it’s a great reminder to live every day to the fullest for the blessing it is.
I am happy to have made it to another year. I will make the most of every day, whatever may be happening in the world outside.
Time to begin anew.No tags for this post.