Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Jewish New Year- Rosh Ha Shana

I’ve never once on this blog pulled out the religion card or talked about mine or preached it in any way or even alluded, I don’t think, to being observant. But I am, okay, so don’t call me this weekend. (I never picked up on Saturday, anyway, if you hadn’t noticed.)

But what the blank, it’s my blog, and you guys say you want to know where I’m coming from. So just this once I’ll share about the religion. And that’s it. This is it. Probably. Here goes.

Not working on a holiday is a no brainer. So I'm not working this weekend in observance of the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShana. Someone else is on call for me. But notice that I said in observance, not in celebration of the new year.

It’s a funny thing, being Jewish. Rather than revel in the possibilities of starting over, the Old Lang Sein thing, rather than drinking and partying, we start out terrified, or at least that's how we're supposed to start out. Joyful, but insecure.

(This year, 5767, by the way, starts on Friday evening, Sept 22 and ends Sunday night, Sept 24)

The idea is that on the first two days of the new Jewish calendar year the whole world is in limbo while G-d considers our future. EVERYBODY'S FUTURE THIS COMING YEAR.

I’m not going to go into the whole Master Plan thing because I haven’t a clue what it is.

But we’re taught that the destiny of every human, every animal, every tree, every sprout, everything is determined on these two days coming right up. The Creator will write us into a book of life if we play our cards right. Or not.

The book is sealed on the 10th of the month, on Yom Kippor, at the end of 25 hour fast of Atonement. It's a real fast, no food, no drink. And that’s the happy day, ironically, of the two holidays. The world's fate is sealed, for good we hope because of the fast. The fast isn't the only variable here, however. Prayer, charity and oh yeah, repentence are key.

So Jews get working on looking good in His eyes the month before the beginning of a new year. They look their innards over microscopically, fess up to their faults, make an effort to change or say they will with feeling, give a LOT of charity, apologize to people they’ve hurt, and pray tons.

So today I was on the train downtown, the Brown Line, if you must know, reading through a book of Selichot. The word means, Sorries. Salachti means I’m sorry.

It’s a book of prayers and poetry, in Hebrew with English translation. And as luck would have it, there was commentary in my edition.

I'm sharing, here, okay? If you’ve got the book it’s Selicha 13,but I don’t imagine too many of you have it.

Le’cha ekoneh ateret: The Artscroll edition I had printed the following commentary:

There is an angel . . .named Sandelfon. . ..who stands behind the Divine Chariot . . .weaving crowns for his Creator (Chagigah, 13b). These crowns are woven from the prayers of the righteous (Tosaphos-another source).

Rabbi Chananel said that this is the meaning of the Kiddusha, another prayer recited at another service, the Musaf:

A crown they will give you, oh Hashem, our G-d, the angels of the multitude above together, with Your people Israel, who are assembled below.

That’s what we’re up to when we’re observing this High Holiday, folks. We’re crowning a king. It's pretty cool. That's what this holiday's all about in the end.

Copyright Therapy Doc, 2006

2 comments:

Neil said...

My favorite part of the holidays is Yom Kippur when everyone states their sins -- and you ask for fogiveness for things you haven't done such as adultry and robbery -- making it feel as if everyone has some sort of responsible for each other's actions. I like that tradition.

Therapy Doc said...

It's a nice religion. Makes a person think.