Thursday, September 25, 2008

Preparing for the Jewish New Year

Next Monday night is the first night of Rosh Hashana, the beginning of the New Year 5769. Some say the dating began when Adam ha Rishon (Adam the first man) was fully created; some say the clock started ticking when Adam spoke. Nobody I know who's Jewish thinks the world began just six days (as we know them) before that--and I've been taking a fascinating class on the classic Jewish scholar known as Ramban or Nachmanides (Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman Gerondi, 1194-1270) who describes biblical creation in surprising and complex detail. In fact, one of his points is that when God made the world, on the fourth "day" (whatever its length), He embedded seeds in the world that only sprouted and became plants once there was rain and somebody there to use/eat them. Interesting, eh?

In any case, I'm trying to prepare for the occasion next Monday night when we'll be judged and get our year's prescription by listening to cassettes by Rabbi Akiva Tatz (I have the complete set of his lectures up to three years ago--hundreds and hundreds of tapes) on many aspects of the holiday, but alas, the more I listen, the more I realize I cannot adequately repent and repair and get in the proper frame of mind. In fact, I can't even remember all the people to whom I need to apologize, much less all the infractions and offenses I've racked up that need redressing. I'm doomed to failure, and really need to count on God's attributes of mercy (and my associates' mercy as well as lack of recollection) if I stand any chance at all to make it through the next year unscathed. Awk, life was sure easier before I became serious about Judaism!

In the meantime, it seems even Barack, Biden, McCain and Palin are getting in the spirit of the holiday. You'll love this YouTube! L'Shana Tova (Happy New Year)!


  1. I remember a Jewish comic of long ago chiding Christians for their 40 days of Lent...even in atonement, you're paying retail!

    I have a very good memory and once I heard of the grace of forgetting prayed for it fervently. It has been such a gift. We say 'the measure with which you measure will be measured back to you.' So a generosity of spirit and a magnanimous mercy going out will come back. I asked one of my priest-confessors 'Does God really forget' and he quoted psalms: God takes your sins and throws them into 'the sea of forgetfulness' and places them as far as the east is from the west. I am grateful, grateful, grateful, for that.

    Happy New Year!

  2. You SOOOOOOOO do not have to worry!!!!! I forget the official reason why RH and YK are Yom Tovs, but it probably has something to do with people like YOU who tip the scales in the right direction for ALL of us!
    Totally hilarious video.... see you in shul... and sticky honey kisses to you!

  3. Thanks Ruth Anne and Mink...Wish I could borrow a bit of your memory, Ruth Anne, and honey-apple-y wishes back at ya, mink!