Each year, before the High Holy Days, the Rabbis tell us that a most unusual heavenly conference takes place. The ministering angels gather before God and ask “Lord of the Universe, on what date does Rosh Hashanah occur”? “Don’t ask me,” replies God. “Inquire of the human court below where such things are determined.”
This story, told for centuries at the beginning of each year, was intended to teach that Judaism requires our involvement; the rabbi is not a surrogate for what we ought to be doing ourselves; and nothing happens automatically. In short, our religion depends on us! It is not a calendar date which initiates this season, but rather our being together in synagogue to celebrate. The New Year begins as we raise the cup of wine, respond to the sweet melodies of our faith, and touched by the penetrating cry of the shofar, are inspired to our first mitzvah of 5174.
On these Days of Awe, let our expectations be of ourselves, for the power to alter our lives is in our own hands. “Loshana tova, metuka u-veracha.” May this year be for us one of goodness, sweetness, and blessing.
Rabbi Jeffrey Bennett