First, I want to wish all my Jewish readers a happy Rosh Hashanah. I know this post comes a little early. Please forgive me.
It’s another New Year — 5772. That’s right. Rosh Hashanah 2011 is actually Rosh Hashanah 5772 for our Jewish friends.
This holiday is, literally, the “head” of the year.
Jews around the world will begin 5772 in a time of reflection…looking back on days past, examining them, learning from them, and then thinking about forgiveness and a new start. The celebrations we’re likely to see won’t be like the January 1 celebrations of the secular world — no crystal Stars of David dropping to a celebrity-studded countdown…and no Dick Clark.
None of that.
These days of awe (the days from Rosh Hashanah to another Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur) are meant as a time of intense reflection, but also a time of renewal — renewing body, mind, and spirit.
It’s a very important time of the year. Your Jewish friends may not be at work for a few days, or there may be an empty desk next to you in school.
These days in Judaism are just one example from one religion of time given special importance. In a sense, there is a velvety rope encircling these days on the calendar, much like a Christian may have for Christmas or a Muslim for Ramadan. Special days. Days of wonder. Days of awe.
But spare a moment for this thought: Why only special days at certain times of year?
I know there are historical and spiritual reasons for having certain holidays at certain times. And, I don’t mean that we should spend every day in intense repentance or unbridled emotional zeal. I’m referring to something else here. Something that goes to the core of living a life more in peace than pain. More in joy than sorrows.
What if we considered each new day on the calendar the very start of a fresh, new year? I’m serious. Think about that. If we started off each morning with a pause to reflect on the deeds of the previous day, considering where improvements might take place, and vowing to do better today, wouldn’t that really be something? Each day is actually just one point on an infinite line that provides infinite points for improvement! No, we’re not spiraling toward an inevitable endpoint. In fact, we are polishing and polishing and getting better and better. To what end? Who knows. That’s the adventure.
It’s worth a look. Every day, then, could have the ring of the new. The zest of the fresh. The start of the spirit.
I don’t think one has to be Jewish to make something like this work. I’m going to try this at this time of year with my Jewish friends and see what happens. I’m going to take this Rosh Hashanah 2011 / Rosh Hashanah 5772 as an opportunity to start treating each day like the head of the year.
Will you join me? After all, a brand new tomorrow is just around the corner.