Thursday – MTV Chapel, Heidelberg, Germany
Rosh Hashanah, like many other holidays is traditionally celebrated for 2 days in the Diaspora.
We don’t have second day services, so those that are interested can locally attending services at the Heidelberg Gemeinde or the same in Mannheim.
There are two Torah readings for Rosh Hashanah – Gen 22.1-19 is often read on the first day and Gen 1.1-2.3 on the second. They are about beginnings. The beginnings of Isaac”s relationship with G-d (not just that of Abraham to G-d) and the beginning of all life.
This time of year, for anyone who has school aged children is obviously about beginnings. The school year starts in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer is over, fall is here, vacations put away. Memories are glowing crystals to be cherished.
So it is also a time of reflection, for how can we stand anew, if we don’t understand who we are. What we have done this past year and where each one of us wishes to go in the next. It is a time for self-reflection and honesty. And a time of clearing out that which is unfinish and honestly going to remain so. And a time for making amends.
Therefore, it is about faith and trust. Abraham had that faith in G-d, Isaac had that faith in his father. To do the right thing, to take care.
You notice that I have been using the pronoun “We” – for this is a time of community and community responsibility. We will skip the annual request for money or laying of guilt for not contributing enough. At the same time, it is one of the few times in the year where the current “Gen-X” expression – “It is all about me” doesn’t seem obscene. It is not selfish to examine “me” and my relationships. My responsibilities and how well I have fulfilled them. The promises I made. Those to faith, family, community. A chance given to me to set things right and to make things better.
As we go through today and this next week, take the opportunity. Clean out the old, make amends and start anew.
May we all have a sweet new year. May we have peace, and the swords truly become plowshares.