These three major festivities take place within the same month when we celebrate the Jewish new year. This fact shows that there are significant connections between them, and their common denominator is the Unity and Oneness we experience with our Creator in each one of them. In Rosh Hashana we are proclaiming Him as our King and our Father. Our Sages call it the Judgment Day in which we recognize that there is nothing besides Him. That is why we read that day the akedah, the binding of Isaac.
Mystic Sages say that Sarah, Abraham and Isaac were very aware that Creation comes from God and belongs to Him, including our lives. There is nothing we can claim as our possession simply because we don’t own anything except the materialistic illusions that make us believe otherwise. Our forefathers knew better and this is why they were so close to the Creator.
They set the example for their descendants until this complete awareness was given to us with the Ten Commandments in a day that our Sages teach is Yom Kippur. In our current new year this day will be as it was the first time, on a Shabbat. Again we solemnly celebrate our Oneness with the Creator in an occasion when He atone for our inadequacies, and redirects us to return to our true identity.
We read the book of Jonah to plea for our return to Him after asking Him for forgiveness. If a Pagan nation can be forgiven for their repentance, why not the Chosen People? The Prophet Jonah learned in his troubled journey that it is all about trusting God and not the material illusions coming from the shade of a gourd (kikaion): “You had pity on the gourd for which you have not labored, neither made it grow, which came up in a night, and perished in a night.” (Jonah 4:10). These are the material fantasies and illusions we trust more than the One who created them. Our Sages explain that Jonah was angry because a Pagan nation was willing to return to God’s ways, and not His own people.
God’s created us and sustains us all the time as He did in His cloud of glory when He delivered our ancestors from bondage in Egypt. He commands us to remember His permanent protection to us by living during seven days in succot. In all Jewish holidays we remind ourselves that the love of our Creator is always with us. We were chosen to be His children and His people, then we must choose back to be His children and His people. And we can only be aware of this when we choose His ways and attributes. Only in full awareness of the love that created all we will be able to dwell in His Presence in these memorable holidays.
May the new year bring us the highest awareness of God’s love in every dimension of our existence. Shana tova u’metukah!