Let me ask you a riddle:
2 people start running. They both started at the exact location, yet after running for 3 miles, one is 3 miles away while the other is… at the same place where he began.
Did you guess it?
Yes! That person was running on a treadmill!
As the calendar is staring at us, reminding us that another Jewish year is soon going to be in the books, I can’t help but realize how much we are all running. What? Is it Rosh Hashanah already? It can’t be – it was practically yesterday!
I can’t change the speed of time; I know that running and being busy are part and parcel of the human experience. But I also know it is up to me to decide if I am getting somewhere or being on the treadmill, jogging in place, and not going anywhere.
There is one beautiful Rosh Hashanah tradition that can help with that:
A new year’s resolution.
When we take a new year’s resolution, we are essentially planning ahead. We think about what we want to become and take one small step in that direction.
So when the year comes to a close, we can look back and feel a sense of accomplishment.
People will typically choose resolutions such as “go on a diet” or “read a book monthly.”
But Rosh Hashanah should be different.
Because Rosh Hashana is the day when G-d brings new vitality to the world.
Our sages teach the power of Rosh Hashanah: This is when G-d bestows the world, and each individual creature, with all of the divine blessings for the upcoming year. He opens new channels to allow our unique gifts to enter our lives.
So our resolutions should match that; when G-d is making himself closer to us, we should make ourselves closer to Him.
So yes, it’s perfect to take a resolution to eat differently (eat Kosher!)
And it’s a great idea to read a book monthly; make it a Torah book!
Here are a couple of ideas that get your thought process going:
Start a daily Torah study routine: After a year, you might be looking at an entire book of Torah you’ve studied!
Candle lighting: The beautiful Mitzvah of ushering in the Shabbat and holidays by lighting candles. This special Mitzvah is (mainly) for Jewish women and girls. And if you do light candles already, consider adding one more important element – putting a coin in the Tzedakah (charity) box before the lighting.
Tefillin: This one is for men and boys over 13. Do you put on Tefillin daily? Is this something you can commit to? If not yet, how about once a week? And if you are putting on Tefillin every day, how about putting a coin in Tzedakah before you start wrapping Tefillin?
Kosher: If you don’t eat Kosher yet, this can be your powerful Mitzvah in honor of Rosh Hashana. Yes, going fully Kosher is a big commitment (and purchasing Kosher meat will cost significantly more!). But this Mitzvah is bound to have a remarkably positive impact on your life. Also can be done in healthy steps.
Honestly, this is just a tiny sample of all kinds of Rosh Hashanah resolutions. The potential list is long, and the opportunities are endless. The important thing is to add something to our routines that will stay with us, enrich our lives, and help us.
Wishing you all a Shana Tova!
Rabbi Pesach Scheiner
P.S. I’d love to hear what’s your Rosh Hashanah resolution! Feel free to email me at email@example.com
P.P.S I’m deeply grateful to my colleagues Rabbi Mendy Kaminker and Rabbi Yosef Schtroks for helping inspire this message.
If you are planning to join us for any of our Rosh Hashonah offerings please let us know and rsvp now, Visit: Boulderjudaism.com/rosh