Monday, September 12, 2016

Rosh HaShanah is Coming! You Ready? Me Neither

Crazy I know - Rosh HaShanah is coming! Facebook groups are starting to obsess about the menus, what to cook, what to freeze... omg!

Okay, so I'm not that person who's quite that organized. I think I'm lucky that I get Shabbat meals ready every week. Not too bad an accomplishment. But the truth is, we should be starting to prepare for Rosh HaShanah, it is the Jewish New Year. Even if we're not ready to get our menus in order, we should start to think about what Rosh HaShanah is actually about.  It's about crowning HaShem (G-d) King over ourselves and over the universe. Huge. But what does that actually mean?

We are not the end all, be all. We like to have control over our lives, and we do the best to have that control. However, that control is really a facade. Usually, we don't realize that we don't have complete control until something goes wrong - health problems, loss of a job or something else. Then clearly, it's no longer in our hands... and we start to wonder, and talk to G-d (usually in anger or pain) and finally see that most things are not really in our control - the reality dawns that HaShem wants us to talk to Him and make a connection. Unfortunately, it's usually hardship that forces the connection... since when things are good and floating along cheerily, we forget about the Guy in Charge. But it doesn't have to be that way. We have to make the connection even when things are good, recognize HaShem's hand in all of it... and let go of some of that "control".

I won't be in synagogue this year to pray... but I will be there to hear the shofar blown. Hearing the shofar is the key mitzvah of the holiday. Don't miss it. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and let the sound enter your heart.

A great book to prepare for Rosh HaShanah is: 60 Days: A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays by Rabbi Simon Jacobson. It is great. Rabbi Jacobson has broken down the month prior to Rosh HaShanah (Elul) and the month of Rosh HaShanah and the following holidays (Tishrei) into their individual days. He then gives fascinating information about what you can learn/do each of those days to get the most out of preparations and celebrating the holidays. It's also a workbook for self-improvement, if you have the time - but if you don't, there's plenty for you to read and enjoy. It also has a guide to the prayers of Rosh HaShanah.

If you're not able to go to synagogue (or even if you are), make sure to visit and print out before the holidays interesting articles to read and think about (there are also recipes, if you need some inspiration): High Holidays Jewish Holidays

All the best to everyone for a Shana Tova U'Mituka - a sweet and good year ahead!

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