Monday night, Rosh HaShanah, begins the Jewish New Year of 5782. That’s a positive sign; that we’ve been around as a people for so long and the prospects for continuing our survival is a positive one. That’s what we must focus on. We have endured and survived untold attempts at our extermination, but look around. We’re still here and thriving. The holiday falls during the Hebrew months of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur. These special events are known as the Yamim Nora’im, which means the “Days of Awe” in Hebrew.
During these High Holy Days, tradition teaches that during this time G-d decides who will live and who will die during the coming year. And we Jews, take on the serious task of examining our lives and repenting for any misdeeds committed during the previous year. We’re encouraged to make amends for any wrongs done to others and setting goals for improving in the days ahead. Rosh HaShanah, therefore, is all about making peace in the community and striving to be a better person. Although the theme of the holiday is life and death, it calls as well, for making peace in the community and striving to be a better person.
The upcoming New Year may bring a bundle of emotions and memories for many of us, good and bad. We’ve been through a series of ongoing Covid pandemics, business closings, unemployment, racial unrest and uncertainty, school board battles of masking or unmasking, and of course, the military blunder in Afghanistan whose “ending” will surely continue to plague he world in the following years. One ponderous struggle after another with no end in sight.
This New Year brings desperate hope for things to be better, to heal the wounds of the past. We must keep our chins up, be positive and pray for G-d’s intervention and aid. Many of us are still feeling the lingering effects of this seemingly never ending, shelter-in-place craziness that would save us from catching the virus. Attending movies, theater, ball games, weddings or even small social gatherings have been and still are frowned upon. Synagogue services have been “zoomed.”
The joyful sounds of children attending Shabbos services have been muted. But look at the resiliency and flexibility of our people that held us together with the on-line technology. Perhaps that was G-d’s message to us. To lead us through this past year of widespread despair and see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Perhaps the lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic could help people learn to accept change in their lives for the better.
Rabbi Shlomo Levertov, of the Chabad of Paradise Valley in Arizona, put it this way: “Change was something we never wanted, we didn’t look for change and many of us were very comfortable in our lifestyles. The past couple of months have given us time to see what our priorities in life are. We can look through our life and figure out what’s a priority. It’s possible, maybe some people have put a bigger value on relationships, a bigger price tag on relationships.” He’s right on the money.
Now to the future. And we need to pray that there is a future for us and the remainder of the free world. Warning signs are going up and alarms are blaring. We are losing ground in the seemingly never ending war against terror in the Middle East. Islamist savages in Afghanistan have won a major victory against us. Guys wearing pajamas, trudging along in sandals or riding around in makeshift pick-ups, armed with small mere AK-47’s put our nation’s mighty military to route, un-explainable at the time of this writing and perhaps forever.
Now they have in their custody thousands of ready made hostages, both American citizens and loyal to our country Afghans, 83 billion $ worth of top of the line military weaponry and supplies and the frightening posture of our president and his coterie of un-elected diplomats begging these savages for their congenial diplomacy and acceptance of our humble humiliation. We pray during these holy weeks for our leaders to wake up to the reality that wars are fought to win and that our country must once again rise to lead the free world. There is no other nation that has the productive, military and history to do this. It will be our job to right things in the coming year. We pray.
We must also ask for the domestic warfare on so many fronts within our borders to be ameliorated and ended. The evident hatred by blacks against whites being led by elected radicals of both white and black races is tearing this nation apart. Our medical resources, working together with their international partners must solve the toxic Covid virus outbreaks whose strains seem to be morphing out of control. We cannot subsist as a world in never ending fear.
And of course, our concerns take in the doubtful future of Israel, whose enemies in that region of the world now seem to be gaining strength. President Biden’s foolish moves to re-instate the Iran Nuclear Deal, and reach out in friendship and trust with the radical Iranian Mullahs, spells trouble for the Jewish State. Please, during these Holy Days, say a couple of prayers that the above problems will at least begin to get solved during the coming year. Remember, G-d is always listening. It’s your job to reach out with your prayers. Give it a shot….. for your kids and all future generations to come