Today is Rosh Hashanah, the observance of the Jewish New Year. It is one of my favorite holidays of all religions. I am not Jewish, but I believe that all religions have lessons that we can learn from, if we are open to them. I wish that every religion had a holiday or observance that compared to Rosh Hashanah, the Ten Days of Awe and Yom Kippur. instead we have New Years, which is sadly lost in a swill of booze and partying (usually) or overlooked completely, not cause for serious reflection.
Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the ten Days of Awe, which end on Yom Kippur. This is a time set aside for deep reflection of your actions over the past year, what amends you need to make, looking towards the year ahead and thinking of how you can use the lessons from the past year to be better in the coming year. Rosh Hashanah is when your fate for the upcoming year is “written,” detailing whether you will have a good year, a prosperous year, a healthy year, or if it will it be a bad year; depending on past actions, this is what will be written. Over the ten Days of Awe or Days of Repentance, you have the opportunity to change what is written.
You have the ability to change your fate (to reverse the call..) by making amends for wrongs you have done, by being repentant, by being charitable, by making strides to do and be better. You must reflect. Reflect on whom you might have been uncharitable to, who you have wronged, been unkind to, spoken harshly to, or any number of ways that you have acted unkind (and wrongly to another). We all have done this, we’ve all made mistakes throughout the year in some form or another. The question is did you leave it, or did you amend for it? Did you seek out the other person and try to make it right? Did you apologize.. sincerely? Did you forgive others their misguided actions? Did you make a mistake and instead of ignoring it, tried to do better next time. Did you snap at someone and later take the time to say, I’m sorry? If not, even if you are not Jewish, take this opportunity to reflect and make amends. There is no time like the present. Even if someone was in the wrong to you, if you acted, or rather reacted, in a way that you aren’t proud of, be the person who can admit their own fault. You don’t have to love or even like that person, this is about you. Your actions, your growth as a person. Be courageous, stand up and be the person you most want to be.
On Rosh Hashanah “it is written” and on Yom Kippur “it is sealed.” Ten days to focus on being better, treating others better, being more charitable, forgiving, patient, kind, loving, accepting, ….. and to then carry that with you the rest of the year. And to be more present, present enough that when you slip and amends need to be made, you can do them immediately, and next year when Rosh Hashanah rolls around, you will be making less amends and more acts of gratitude.