Happy Rosh Hashana! L’Shana Tovah! Happy New Year!

· dKo journal, Edgewise, Paleoblogs

May your name be inscribed for good in the Book of Life!
I understand there is another New Year, celebrated on January 1, but I think we need all the New Years we can get. The Jews actually have two. One is the start of the first month of the Jewish Calendar, in the Spring, when life sprouts out of the ground for reasons it will not reveal.
The reason we have Rosh Hashanah as a second New Year is that it is the birthday of the Universe. Happy Birthday Universe!
My Own Obviously Optional Religious Note:
Rosh Hashanah has another importance too, because of the Book of Life. This is, of course, the book we are writing just by being alive. Rosh Hashanah is an ideal time to take stock of what we have written in this year’s edition. The saying is, “On Rosh Hashanah it is written; on Yom Kippur it is sealed.” My friends from publishing will understand this very well. On Rosh Hashanah it is in galleys; on Yom Kippur it is shipped. So, many people use these days to make their last minute corrections.

But, wait!
We can make corrections any time, and they are reflected in all that was written in the past.
Here we have these two ideas on the table: One is you can make a turning any moment of any day. When you choose it, it is there. Every time you close your eyes, every time you open them, you see the promise of forgiveness waiting.
The other is a structure that forces you to stop and face yourself, that asks what you’ve been doing with your life, have you measured up to your own idea of kindness, is there someone you’ve forgotten and wanted to forget. You know them all, because they are your questions, but now you feel you have to answer. Why now? Because this is the time.
Two ideas on the table. I’ll take both!
There are some really wise ideas structured into the Rosh Hashanah tradition. The ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are called the “Days of Awe.” A lot of things we’d like to repent of require some preparation first. So it takes time.
Sometimes we have to earn our repentance. When we are sincere, God would be willing to just forgive us everything, right then and there. But that just isn’t possible. If you have offended God, God can forgive you. But if you have wronged another person, how can God forgive you? Only the one you have wronged can do that.
So the Days of Awe are sacred to forgiveness, for going to the person I’ve avoided, looking them in the eye and, speaking on the level, expressing my regret. It is required that if there are amends to be made, I make them first. If recompense is owed, I pay it. I must sincerely intend not to repeat what I have done, and I must express that too. Then your regret has been earned.
On the other side, during the Days of Awe, forgiveness cannot be withheld--not without violating the spirit of the days, which has come down to us as a gift, and is prepared to set us free, if we will set each other free.
You can’t go back, but you can turn around.