As the hours wind down on 5781 and Rosh Hashana, also known as the Day of Remembrance, approaches it seems a fitting time to reflect on the year past.
– On what I’ve done and what I could have done.
– On when I’ve been present in conversations with others and when I could have been more so.
– On where I’ve put my focus and energy and where I could have put them.
– On how I treated others and how I could have treated others.
– On why I made the choices I made and why I did not make others.
As Rosh Hashanah opens the Ten Days of Repentance, we have time to ask forgiveness of those we’ve wronged, before we come together as a community on Yom Kippur to ask forgiveness of G-D, both as individuals and collectively. (Well, this year, as last, we will be streaming services safely at home.)
Rosh Hashana reminds us that we are not judges. The same tradition that has us ask others to forgive us – that is, hands over the role of decision-maker to others who’ve been wronged by us – also designates Rosh Hashanah as the time when G-D writes down our fate. The names of the righteous are inscribed into the Book of Life, those who are evil are inscribed into the Book of Death and those who are neither have judgement suspended until Yom Kippur, when our fate is sealed.
Whether or not you believe in the concept of people being inherently good or evil or the concept of fate being determined in a way which usurps free will, the very idea of taking time each year to step back and review what we’ve done and ask forgiveness of others gives us an very useful and welcome opportunity for a re-set.
An opportunity to try again to daily do the right thing, be present, be focused, treat others as we would like to be treated and to make choices that we can look back on a year from now and feel better about.
May we all be inscribed for a good year and may it be a sweet and healthy one.