Focus, Forgive And Forge Ahead – How To Prepare For The Jewish New Year — by Marc

Unknown“A dream can be dreamed
A life can be lived to its fullest
Miracles can happen
Every single day.”

I had mentioned in my last post, that we are given opportunities every day to pray, to have a dialogue with Hashem and to ask for forgiveness. Three times a day, in fact.

Each and every day gives us an amazing chance to connect… to make a difference. This is a hugely important thing… and one of the more amazing aspects of Judaism… that as Jews, we work on and strive for this daily.

But of course, there is an intensity and focus around the High Holidays that is, perhaps, unmatched. The Kotel is as close to the source as you can get. Some even describe it as a direct antenna to Hashem.

And one might say the same goes for the High Holidays… that it is a bit more intense, more focused, more laser beamed on the task at hand… a period of time that can bring us even closer.

So why are these days different from all other days?

Many of us move to a bigger space, to accommodate all who desire to come out for the High Holidays.

GS

Or if we stay in the same space, it is packed.

Like any gathering, there is a social element… Seeing folks you may not see that often… a chance to catch up. And yes, there is a fashion show element, too. Who is wearing what… who has lost weight… etc.

But most essentially, there is real work to do.

On these days, we get much more specific in terms of speaking our sins out loud… taking into account the errors of our ways. We list almost every possible thing.  We take stock in the things we have done, the things we should have done, and the things we did not do. This is essential and vitally important…

We ask for forgiveness for ourselves, and ask that we be able to forgive others who have harmed us. Like many notions that seem simple, it is also an amazingly difficult thing to fully embrace.

Looking at one’s self and admitting that we have done wrong, dropped the ball, and missed opportunities is a depressing venture. Yet we have to own things, for only then will we know where we truly need to change. Saying you are sorry is not easy, but so rewarding.

If we say it sincerely and with the conviction that we want to make things right, we can change and put ourselves back on the path.

We also forgive others… We do this every evening with the Bedtime Shema, and of course on the High Holidays. This is perhaps an even trickier notion, because we have no control over others. Even if we forgive them, there is nothing to say that they will change their ways or behavior. We have no control over others, only ourselves… Just as we have no control over circumstances or events, only how we act and react in those moments.

The Jewish New Year is a time for celebration and reflection. A time for joy and hard work. A time to forgive. Hashem gives us this incredible opportunity to ask for forgiveness, to repent, to apologize and sincerely accept the apologies of others.

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So perhaps the Shofar is a call to arms… a call to battle our inner demons and flaws and foibles… A call to battle ourselves… a call to speak our sins out loud and to rediscover our happiness and to make the New Year as strong and positive as it can possibly be.

Let us not forgive and forget… let us forgive and remember… or remember and forgive.  Happy New Year!

 

 

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