The old year 2018 is swiftly approaching its end. I have already turned the page of the calendar to a new year 2019. As my mother used to say “od shanah, od shanah”… another year, another year.
Will 2019 be a continuation of 2018 or will it be a year of fulfilled hopes and dreams, a year of peace and justice? Upon whom does it depend?
When I wake up every morning I recite immediately the simple prayer of Modeh Ani, giving thanks to God for having restored me to another day of life. I then shave, shower and dress and pick up the morning edition of the Hebrew daily newspaper, YISRAEL HAYOM.
Before I can begin morning prayers it is important for me to know if there is any special cause or person in need of a special prayer. Breakfast consists of orange juice, yogurt with granola and strong black coffee. When the dishes are washed, I roll up my sleeve, put on my tallit and tefillin and begin the cycle of the daily morning prayers.
With new elections confronting us, I pay extra attention to one particular prayer…one which every potential candidate for political office should ask himself (herself). It is found in the section immediately preceding the recitation of the Shema…the credo of Jewish faith which declares the Oneness of God.
In a continual unbroken flow of questions it asks us to respond.
“Master of all worlds… what are we? What is our life? What is our kindness? What is our righteousness? What is our salvation? What is our strength? What is our might? What can we say before You, o Lord our God and God of our forefathers….?
How will our political candidates respond? Likewise, how will we, ordinary citizens, respond?
For the moment, my mind rambles to random thoughts unrelated to our politics.
The year 2019 will see my oldest daughter completing her 35th year as a physical therapist with 3 university degrees. It will see my son completing his 30th year as a physician-surgeon and healer. It will see my youngest daughter completing 20 years as sgan praklita, deputy prosecutor and bureau chief of civil litigation.
It will see my 22 year old granddaughter begin her career as a specialist in the use of cardiac pace-makers. It will see my 20 year old grandson, a chozer b’teshuvah, now in a Jerusalem yeshiva, continue into his third year of university and it will see my 18 year old granddaughter enter her first year of university.
2018 has been a year of blessings. With God’s help, 2019 will be a continuation.
The new year also marks the third anniversary of the death of my beloved wife of 56 years. Time has not healed my wounds. It never will. It never can. The memories obsess my life and I do not allow them to fade away.
Random thoughts. My final article for 2018. 716 of my published articles are spiral-bound into 13 separate volumes of thousands of pages. I keep them in the hope that one day my great-grandchildren will learn something about their saba-raba ….great-grandfather (I’m not so great).
It is part of a heritage which parents should pass along to their children and they to the generations after them. As I take immense pride in the 9 generations of scholars and rabbis who preceded my birth, I hope that my children’s children, the 11th generation, will take some pride from my life.
Back to rambling thoughts, but not so random. Who will lead us after April 9 of the new year? Will it be the same contentious coalition or is there a hope for new fresh ideas?
I even hesitate to vote in the elections because I know that the candidate of my choice cannot win. I’m stuck, as we all are, with the same faces, the same voices, the same terrorism, the same broken promises, the same corruption.
Ain chadash tachat ha-shemesh. There’s nothing new under the sun.
Ma nishtana? How will this new year be different from past years?
Only we, the citizens of Israel, can make the difference.
How fortunate we Jews are to have two new years, one religious and one secular! Let the new one be for a blessing for us and for all mankind.
Shanah tovah. Happy and healthy 2019.