OK so you’ve all heard about New Years Resolutions, right? Well no doubt, there are biblical origins for them. Every major religion celebrates the New Year in some way that reflects its own customs and traditions. Different New Years begin and end at different times of the year or even according to different calendars but New Year celebrations are universally welcomed with some type of gathering ranging from family dinners to expansive carnivals. Some involve serious religious services others are more secular, marked by food and drink, either or both may consumed in excess!
The Jewish New Year is approaching and I am moved to comment on the deeper meaning of this Holiday (Holy Day). Like other New Year celebrations this day marks the end of the previous year and the beginning of a new year and with it new opportunities for reflection and change. Rosh Hashanah signals us to push the ‘pause button’, to stop our whirlwind life styles and think about ourselves and the lives we are leading. There’s nothing magic or mystical about it, though some of the prayers and religious practices may involve mysticism, simply put it means stop doing what you are doing and think about it. Think about yourself and the kind of person you are, does it match with the you that you want to be? Think about the people in your life and ask if you have the kind of relationships you want to have? Are you living the life you want to be living? Are you struggling with issues that need to be resolved? How are you when you are driving? How are you when you are going to school or working? How do you respond to challenging or frustrating situations? Are you acting in accord with your basic beliefs and values or are do your principles live only in your mind and are not reflected in your actions?
Perhaps that is the basic message of any New Year. One year has ended. How did that year go for you? Are there things that didn’t go well and if so what can you do to change them? If everyone took the time to reflect on themselves, really be honest that alone could change the world. For some it may be a ‘resolution’ to stop smoking, for some it may to be kinder to people, for others it may be to work toward religious purity. We all have the opportunity to use this time to reflect, refresh, possibly redirect ourselves and resolve to change the things we want to change. So, push that ‘pause button’, stop and think and maybe something different will happen in your life.
L’Shanah Tovah Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!