The world could use a fresh start.
I can close my eyes and easily transport to one of my most memorable experiences during my gap year in Israel, a Shabbat meal at the famous Machlis family home. The liveliness of one guest speaking still remains fresh in my mind, as he spoke of a concept that revealed infinite truth.
This individual brought light to the concept that G!d had granted the Jewish people a gift that truly, “keeps on giving.” G!d gifted the nation of Israel the importance of time. Time-based mitzvot, cycles and seasons, and macro to micromanagement of time. Blessings of the new month, and of most relevance to us in the here and now; the priority of blessing of the new year. This stranger speaking of such deep insight opened my consciousness to the blessing of Jewish observation and protection of time.
From a very different approach, (yet I must note Jewish) rapper Drake states a concept so similar his inner spark of G!dnliness overpowers the inner braiding of his rap lyrics.
“What a time to be alive”
The bountiful and glorious opportunity we have, only days before a divinely set new year. A designated time is chosen by the ultimate “Father Time” to recreate, redefine, and reconstruct ourselves and our realities.
As I take three steps back at the end of my Amidah, I cannot help but notice the smallest print on my page at the end of my closing song. The words of erupting magnitude rupture and do not allow one to end the Shmonei Esrei without really thinking. The words plea, “May it be Your will, L!rd our G!d and G!d of our fathers, that the Bet Hamikdash be speedily rebuilt in our days, and grant us our portion in Your Torah.”
I understand to end our tefilot with a bang, asking Hashem for the ultimate redemption of rebuilding the physical manifestation of holiness as well as merging a restored spiritual reality. However, the last few words remain open-ended.
Please Hashem grant us a portion in Your Torah. Grant us a portion in Your Torah.
Initially, I take this literally, in addition to a new Beit HaMikdash, we also request that Hashem grants us a new Torah. One full of previously unrecorded Jewish history, names, and places we once knew and deemed forgotten.
While I still find this a nice idea, like everything G!d granted us, this concept breathes spiritually deeper.
The characters and archetypes listed in the Torah were real people. Although the miracles seem too supernatural to grasp, to me it is the willingness to commit and conserve that seem beyond my scope of reality. The fact that Avraham did not grow up as an “FFB” – (Frum From Birth) There was no need for him to live under the “constraints” the G!dly lifestyle posed for him, there was no council of Ravs or disappointed Jewish mothers guiding him to live the way he did. Ruth, Tzipporah, Miriam, and all women of the Torah, in all of their magnificent valor—simply lived the way they did because they chose to. Their conscious choice, their dedication to a structure grander than themselves was so precious that G!d deemed their stories essential to mark and remember.
With this in mind, when at the end of the Amidah we ask G!d to grant us a portion in the Torah, we aren’t asking G!d for the free gift of writing all of our stories. We invest our prayers into a gift that keeps on giving. We invest our heart, mind, and soul into asking G!d to grant us a life of G!dnliness–a life worth remembering, a life worth teaching.
When we bless our children Friday night, we recognize the value of our founder’s choices, the fact that their observance was so pristine, so unpolluted by titles and communities that we can only pray our children to live in a world where their observance and holiness is a gift granted by choice.
Rosh Hashana; a time of angelic holiness and abundant choice, given to us by G!d to recreate, redefine and reconstruct. We are so lucky.
With the consistency of change in the current world, our blessing of time could not be more relevant and essential.
I hope, pray and wish everyone abundant opportunities of granted G!gnliness, may this year be a year of revealed holiness, internal and external. May our time be spent wisely and experienced joyfully. May we be given the awareness of our potential and feel the interconnected reality that we hold with the world. With the help of G!d, may this year provide powerful redemption with the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash as well as grant us the gift to lead a life that inspires.
L’Shana Tova U’Metuka — Have a Happy (and Healthily-Healed) New Year!