Rosh HaShanah, the “Head of the Year,” can literally be translated from its root Sh-N-H as the “Head of the Repeat” or the “Head of the Change.”  For me, this year I completely am embracing the translation of CHANGE.

One of the most important things that we as Jews do during the High Holy Days – the Days of Awe – is reflect on the prior year and what we have done that we might have done differently if given the chance.  Rosh HaShanah is when we consider the next year to be “written”, but we are given a time frame to do the deep work to assure that what may be written is what we want it to be.  At Yom Kippur this new year plan is considered to be “sealed.”  For those of us who attend services in the synagogue over the holidays, we will hear this phrase often.  It is the Unataneh Tokef: On Rosh HaShanah it is written, on Yom Kippur it is sealed.

We are meant to take these 10 days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur to take ownership of our deeds, our role in the world, and to make any adjustments in our life so that what is written is what we want to be sealed.  Is the path we are about to take this year the one we WANT to be on?  We are given time to consider the strength of our footing before we embark on the next year’s course.  If we have made atonement for that which we have done wrong over the prior year – our footing is more secure.  If we have made restitution to those we have harmed – our footing is more secure.  If we have removed ourselves from the path we don’t wish to be on, and are looking at a course that we feel is where we belong, regardless of the easiness or the difficulty of the terrain – our footing is more secure.

For my personal role of this time of Aseret Yemei Teshuvah (Ten Days of Repentance), I am looking for how I can be involved in the world in different ways to make change.  Even small alterations, like how I respond to someone, can make big changes due to the nature of a ripple effect, which is the continuing and spreading effects of an action.

Consider for yourself what small steps you may take in the new year that may begin a ripple that can make 5780 a “Year of Change” for yourself, for your family, for our world.

L’shanah tovah tikatevi v’taihatemi.

May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

Published by jesschasen

Temple Emanuel Sisterhood - Past President 2019-2020 Temple Emanuel - Interim Executive Director

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