Rosh ha-Shana message to the community 2015-2016/ 5776
Being on Sabbatical for a month has had the most profound effect on me. I realised how quickly, never mind time – a month flies!
Back in July, when I was only thinking of having the whole month for research, I thought that I would probably be able to write the whole dissertation by the end of it. A whole month! It seemed endless. It all seemed like that until the Sabbatical actually started! And then time flew by. Before I realized it, the month was over. It then occurred to me - it is just like life. Each of us thinks that all eternity is in front of us, but then looking back, we wonder – where did the time go.
We always look forward to beginning a new year with a fresh start, leaving all misfortunes behind us in the year about to finish – misfortunes, which one way or another reach out to all of us from time to time. We all have new hopes and look forward to good things happening to us in the New Year. However, often in a daily routine we forget to appreciate so many good things - and people! - we are already fortunate to have in our lives. We have missed many opportunities to count our good fortune and to be grateful for our blessings, however many or few we have at certain points in our lives.
The Rabbi from the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” was asked whether there was a blessing for the Tzar. The Rabbi answered, “there is a blessing for everything in our tradition, even for the Tzar”. The Rabbi was right; there are blessings in our tradition for all sorts of events and occasions. The blessings tradition teaches us what we call today “mindfulness”. It teaches us to stop and appreciate every success, every moment of good fortune and of a good person in our life.
During the 10 days of Repentance try to stop and say thank you every time a good thing happens to you. And create an opportunity for mitzvoth, so that other people will have a chance to stop and thank you for your presence in their lives too. Start counting your fortunes this year! It will make us all appreciate how much luckier we are than we actually realised!
And one of our shared fortunes until the end of December 2015 is our 50th anniversary! More celebrations to come – lets enjoy it together! Shanah Tovah – have a good and a prosperous New Year!