Monday, September 18, 2006

Rosh Hashanah

My birthday is September 25 and I've always noticed that Rosh Hashanah falls near my birthday--sometimes even on the same day. I learned awhile ago that Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, but I recently read something that makes my heart feel tender toward this holiday.

Rosh Hashanah is hebrew for head (rosh) of the year (hashanah). Shanah, from the same root as Mishnah (repetition), signals a return to the beginning. Its zodiacal sign is Libra or the scales, a time when our souls are weighed in the balance. We take stock of ourselves spiritually and engage in teshuvah (returning back to God). The dramatic high point in shul is the sounding of 100 blasts of the shofar (ram's horn) to awaken us from our spiritual slumber.
(c) Ira Steingroot, Published by Pomegranate Communications, Inc.

I don't believe in astrology, but the symbolism of the zodiacal sign is interesting to me. In our tradtional New Year celebration we tend to make resolutions and goals--what we can we do to better ourselves for the future. How many times is a New Year's resolution to lose weight? But here, on Rosh Hashanah, the goal is to get weighed, to look back on our entire lives and see where we are at. And then, its not about setting a goal to aim for in the future, its about returning to our Source.

I was also struck by the 100 blasts of the shofar calling for us to awake from our spiritual slumber. The trumpeting of the ram's horns calls us to return to God. Isn't it interesting that the trumpeting of a ram's horn will also signal God's return to us? When Christ returns, with that shofar blast, we will be awakened to so much more.

I like that my birthday is around the same time as Rosh Hashanah. I think it is a significant thing for me to start a new year both physically and spiritually. This year Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown September 22. I encourage you to "weigh your soul in the balance" and return to God. Shanah Tovah!


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