It’s early, and I pad quietly into the kitchen, pour my first cup of coffee, and step outside in the faint morning light. I wrap my hands around the old blue mug, chipped, with a crack on the inside, that I had brought home with me from my parents’ house, savoring the welcome warmth that comes as much from the steaming liquid as from the memory of my mother’s kitchen. I take a deep breath as I look out at the rosy hued sky and feel an unexpected cool breeze flutter across my face and shiver in delight. Fall must be coming, even as the sultry summer heat stubbornly resists its departure, making way for a new season, a new year.
And so it goes, the continuous circling of the months and the wondrous immensity and variety of their offerings and the seemingly serendipitous convergence of the Jewish calendar with nature’s turning, season to season, year to year. And now, come fall, a new year, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year at its head, with both its bright promise of starting anew, and its remembrance of the world’s creation, its primordial beginnings and the divine hand in its making. Its coming propels us ever forward, even as it prods us to look back, to review and reflect on what has come before with its imperative of teshuvah, turning, to make amends for our mistakes, to resolve to do better, even as the future beckons, like the freshness of the morning air and the anticipation of what is to come.
And so, we toggle between this world and the next, between yesterday, today and tomorrow, between generations past and generations future, aspiring to make the most of our years, living fully present, even as each day imperceptibly draws us forward. And it is at moments like these, just as a new day dawns, just as a new year begins, that I look out at the beauty of the world and marvel at its creation. That I feel exceedingly grateful for its blessings and all that we have been given to enjoy. That I sense its precious transience and propensity for change even as I remain certain of its comforting constancy and eternal workings.
And that I am acutely aware of its evanescence, that makes the obligation to make each and every day count that much more pressing. That I understand that our aspirations for ourselves are inextricably tied to the aspirations of others, our families, our communities, our people, and that, as the sages teach us, our responsibility is not only to ourselves but to others, for we are all one.
And that as the world turns, so do we.