Yesterday was Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year! Happy New Year and Shana Tovah to all my fellow Jews out there and anyone who celebrates this holiday. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) are the two holiest days in the Jewish religion.
The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the “Ten Days of Repentance”. According to traditional Jewish teaching, God opens the Book of Life each year on Rosh Hashanah to inscribe a person’s fate for the coming year, but does not seal that fate until Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement.” The Days of Repentance thus offer an observant Jew the opportunity to atone for past misdeeds, seek forgiveness, and mend his or her behavior. (more can be found here)
Personally, I’ve always struggled with this concept.
Most Jews attend a service at their synagogue on these 2 days of worship. In my experience, it’s a day filled with community, prayer, shofar blowing and apples & honey, for a sweet new year. Since I was a child, up until 2 years ago, I attended synagogue on these High Holy Days. In recent years, I have separated myself more and more from organized religion and its institutions, as I’ve been on my own spiritual journey to discover what brings me peace and love.
Yesterday, I honored Rosh Hashanah in a different way than ever before. The day consisted of movement, time spent in nature, reading, meditation, a discussion on the topic of “acceptance” with women whom I connect with on a deep spiritual level, and of course, a long nap.
Here’s the interesting thing….
I felt so connected with spirit, more in tune and more grounded than in past years. I thought about Rosh Hashanah and its meaning, to me, more than ever before. Thinking back to sitting in those services, I can recall thinking about how much longer I had to sit there and yucking it up with my friends as a way to make the best of it. Yes, even as an adult! Sure, there were moments that resonated with me, but on the whole, I realize now, I was not really present to the meaning of the holy day. Yesterday, removed from a typical way of worshipping, I found more connection to Rosh Hashanah and MY Judaism than ever before.
This year, Rosh Hashanah means to me, turning inward and thinking about how I can continue to grow and:
- best trust myself and my intuition
- lead a life filled with value and purpose
- better serve my community and make a difference
All of this feels so good and so right. To that, I say “L’Chaim, To Life”!! And YOU do YOU!