Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts tonight. Thus, it’s time for my annual New Years message for my family, my real-life, Blog, LiveJournal, Google+, and Facebook friends (including all the new ones I have made this year), and all other readers of my journal:
L’Shana Tovah. Happy New Year 5773. May you be written and enscribed for a very happy, sweet, and healthy new year.
For those curious about Jewish customs at this time: There are a number of things you will see. The first is an abundance of sweet foods. Apples dipped in honey. Round challahs. Honey cakes. The sweet foods remind us of the sweet year to come. As for the round challah. Some say they it represents a crown that reflects our coronating God as the King of the world. Others suggest that the circular shape points to the cyclical nature of the year. The Hebrew word for year is “shana,” which comes from the Hebrew word “repeat.” Perhaps the circle illustrates how the years just go round and round. But Rosh Hashana challahs are not really circles; they are spirals… The word “shana” has a double meaning as well. In addition to “repeat,” it also means “change”. As the year goes go round and round, repeating the same seasons and holidays as the year before, we are presented with a choice: Do we want this shana (year) to be a repetition, or do we want to make a change (shinui)? Hopefully, each year we make choices for change that are positive, and each year we will climb higher and higher, creating a spiritual spiral. The shape of the Rosh Hashana challah reminds us that this is the time of year to make those decisions. This is the time to engage in the creative spiritual process that lifts us out of the repetitive cycle, and directs our energies toward a higher end.
[Thanks to Aish Ha’Torah for these insights]
There are also apologies, for during the ten days starting this evening, Jews examine their lives and see how they can do better. On Yom Kippur (starting the evening of September 25th), Jews apologize to G-d for their misdeeds during the past year. However, for an action against another person, one must apologize to that person.
So, in that spirit:
If I have offended any of you, in any way, shape, manner, or form, real or imagined, then I apologize and beg forgiveness. If I have done anything to hurt, demean, or otherwise injure you, I apologize and beg forgiveness. If I have done or said over the past year that has upset, or otherwise bothered you, I sincerely apologize, and will do my best to ensure it won’t happen again.
If you have done something in the above categories, don’t worry. I know it wasn’t intentional, and I would accept any apology you would make.
May all my blog readers and all my friends have a very happy, healthy, and meaningful new year. May you find in this year what you need to find in life.