Something New

It is traditional to buy something new before the High Holydays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

My daughter Liora asked me what she could buy for me. I told her, “no shirts, no ties, no underwear, no socks, no after-shave lotions, no books (I have more than 4000 in my library), no candies…in brief, I replied that I don’t need anything, except for good health”.

Then I asked her what I could buy for her. Her response copied mine… “I don’t need anything”.

With that in mind, I went to Magnolia in Kanyon Hazahav and bought her two gold necklaces, matching earrings and a bracelet. She accepted my gift with a complaint that I was being unfair in not allowing her to buy anything new for me.

But since she has inherited my frequent stubborness, she paid no attention and went in search of something new and unique. Something she was sure that I would use.

In a shop in Jerusalem which sells unique items she bought me a pen engraved in Hebrew…

“L’abba ha-itonai ha-yakar shelanu she tamshich lichtov. B’ahava”
“To Dad our dear journalist that you may continue to write. With love.”

It is one unique gift that I will treasure and most assuredly will use regularly.

I do not know when or where the custom of buying something new for the New Year first began. I remember very well that on the very first day of Rosh Hashanah my parents presented me with one or more of the above items that I told Liora that I did not need. ”It is our Jewish custom”, they told me.

And I truly think it is a beautiful custom to begin a new year of life with something new.

In that vein, I hope that we will have a new prime minister to occupy the seat of high honor for the new year 5780.

The Jewish New Year is based upon praying for change….change within ourselves. Change to better ourselves and to rid ourselves of past ignoble deeds or words.

Our rabbis have taught us that we cannot be forgiven unless we first ask pardon and forgiveness from those whom we have wronged, hurt and insulted in the year now passing.

God, it is said, does not forgive our sins against our fellow men and women. Only those who we have wronged can forgive us if our apology is sincere.

With that in mind, it might be a good idea for Binyamin and Sara and Yair Netanyahu to extend public apologies to our country, to our citizens, for lies, cheating, bribery and deceit. That might be the best way for our ruling family to begin the New Year on the right foot.

It is also the occasion when we, as a Jewish majority, should be more concerned with the well-being of the 20 percent of our national minorities.. Arab Muslims and Christians, Druze and Circassians, as well as to the many hundreds of foreign nationals who live temporarily among us. Begin first with the Filipinos.

And while we, as a nation, must be constantly on our guard I do not believe, inspite of the hostile talk, that we will be at war with Iran. The borders with Gaza and Lebanon will continue to plague us with attacks by terrorists.

Only a strong prime minister and minister of defense can help to put an end to the bombings, shootings, car-rammings, stabbings which have become a hated and unwanted scenario.

A new year must bring something new for all of us. It must be tranquility and security. Our military forces can be of great help in granting us the wish for peace in the new year.

Oseh shalom bimromav, Hu yaaseh Shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael v’imru. Amen.
May He who brings peace from on high bring peace to us and to all the children of Israel.

And let us together say “Amen.”

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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