Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year is upon us, which makes me think about new beginnings, faith, and forgiveness. Rosh Hashana is both a time of celebration and a time of introspection. We celebrate the birth of the world and reflect on the year that has passed. We eat a round challah to symbolize the cycle of life. The challah or an apple is dipped in honey to remind us of all the sweetness in life.
The Shofar is blown to represent our covenant with God. In the book of Genesis, Abraham was given the ultimate test and was requested to sacrifice Isaac, who was his only son by his wife, Sarah. His faith in God was resolute and he was ready to give up the son he had yearned for. Just before he was going to offer up his greatest gift, Abraham was commanded to sacrifice a ram instead. The horn of the ram is used to make the shofar that is blown during the holiday season.
One of my favorite rituals of Rosh Hashana is Tashlich. During Tashlich, we visit a body of water and throw in small pieces of bread to symbolize our sins of the past year.
There are so many beautiful lessons in this holiday. It reminds us that we can start anew and that life is cyclical- there will be seasons that go smoothly and seasons that test our faith. It reminds us to savor the sweetness of life- the moments of joy that allow you to forget the pain, confusion and the tears. It teaches forgiveness, which often has to start with the ability to forgive oneself. Forgiveness can be as simple as just casting your wrongdoings into the water and giving yourself permission to let go of what has been weighing you down.
Happy New Year!