I know, I know, the holidays are early this year. Why? Not to mess with school schedules, though that is a side effect. The timing is based both on the phases of the moon and the Earth’s rotation around the sun- a reminder that the Jewish tradition has, for millennia, asked us to acquire a deep knowledge of the world around us. On the High Holy Days we look inwards, but to even know when to do so, a working knowledge of the cosmos is required. That balance of a personal focus and a universal focus is no accident.
The tradition asks us to have a vast perspective. After we blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, we say, hayom harat olam, today the world stands as at birth. What does that even mean? Isn’t every day more or less the same? But on Rosh Hashanah, we re-commit ourselves to the sacred task of renewal. We can create new possibilities. We are bound by our past, yet our history need not prevent us from creating a better future. When we say that Rosh Hashanah marks the birth of the world, it’s not a statement about the past- it’s a statement about the future.
This year, 5779, may we all be blessed with the knowledge that, for all of the travails of the past and present, we are called by the shofar and the Jewish tradition to see the world as at birth: a place of vast possibilities. With this perspective, we will enter the New Year with an essential blessing, the blessing of hope.
Enclosed please find important information for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I look forward to marking these days with you. May you and your loved ones be inscribed in the Book of Life for health, blessings, joy, and fulfillment. Shanah tovah u’mitukah.
Rabbi Dan Selsberg