I’ve heard a lot of conflicting ideas toward the high holy days, indeed if you have a moment to glance at my own writings, you’ll notice letter 5 and 8 directly contradict each other, even though they are both talking about rosh hashona. Some people smile, some people tremble, some people act and some people maintain their act, and some people pray.

In the Alcoholics Anonymous world, they talk a lot about Resentment, as being a cause for unhappiness, take the word resentment and split it into 2, re – sentiment, meaning to feel things over and over again,not being able to let go when something has affected you. And resentment is not at all about the other person, the attacker if you will, it’s about you, it’s about your choice, albeit subconsciously, to store those feelings of hatred and hold on to them, at a cost to yourself.

The other day, I wrote a message to god, funny idea I know, but it is what it is. I found a website on the kotel heritage site, where you can type a letter and it gets put in the stones that we hold dearest. Amongst some of my bitterness, and some of my joy which I wont bore you with here, I asked God to help me with my foundering spirituality and also my relationships with people, perhaps a little odd, considering both of those things are really more within my own remit, but what’s the harm in chatting eh.

This year, I hope to bring together my thoughts about letters 5 and 8, by giving myself time for thinking about myself and my development and therefore also thinking about my relationships with the people around me, am I too controlling, too demanding, too careful or too insensitive, and importantly as my rebbe R’ Daniel Rowe pointed out to me from the wisdom of the 12 step program, am I holding onto feelings of mistrust or anger against certain people, and what do those feelings say about me, will I let them continue to define me. Or will I climb the ladder to forgiveness and happiness.

As I ascend the bimah this year, this time in Swansea, to sing out the beautiful songs of the yomim noroim davening, I hope I will have allowed some of those feelings to drift away, let go, to take hold of the next rung. I genuinely hope that as valued parts of my life, you will take this opportunity to let me know if I have fallen down, and I wish you, your families and all of us frail, flawed, beautiful people a fantastic shabbat and a new year filled with happiness, health, for us and all the folks we care for.

Raffi.