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Moses appointed twelve emissaries to scout out the Holy Land and return with a report. The representative for the tribe of Ephraim was Moses’ primary disciple, Joshua. Until this time, the lad’s name was Oshua. But Moses added a letter to his name and called him Joshua.
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Home » High Holidays

New Year Greeting 5773

Submitted by on October 5, 2012 – 9:10 pmNo Comment | 2,882 views

I wanted to write a Rosh Hashanah greeting and was casting about for a new spin, something that would make this year’s greeting stand out, when I realized that it’s not the greeting that should stand out, but the year.

You see, dear friends, this year I turned forty, the traditional age for reflection and mid life crises. I wonder if this is why I am suddenly tired of platitudinal New Year greetings that promise change, but never deliver. If I look at the larger picture of life I have to ask myself what primary change this past year brought and what changes my previous years brought.

Of course there was the year I got married, the years my children were born and the year I became a Rabbi. But these are to some extant external to me.  They were about me taking on the role of husband, father and teacher. But which year marked a paramount improvement in me?

Of course I am more mature today than I was in my twenties and less mature than I will be in my sixties. Indeed, change doesn’t come in dramatic shifts, but gradually over the years, which is precisely why I’m tired of ringing promises that herald new beginnings. Was last year’s promise fulfilled that I dare venture a new one?

Look at me, I’m rambling in public. I must have gotten old. I let my thoughts run away with me and here I am – musing in front of you. But oh well, if you heard the beginning you might as well hear the end.

Old habits die hard and while I’m far from an old dog I am not ready to learn new tricks. If I promise myself change every Rosh Hashanah I want to promise it this year too. Only I want it to be honest. I want to devise a plan that actually works, a concrete plan that ensures I will really change.

First I need to decide just what change I want implemented in my life. Strike that, not in my life, but in my person – myself.  In other words what do I need to do to better myself as a person and Jew? Then I need to lay out a month by month map to help me implement my change in stages. Then I need to work out a proper plan for each month setting daily goals and weekly benchmarks for success.

This is the easy part. The hard part will be actually implementing it. I have to be vigilant or I’ll drop my guard. I need to make sure I hit my daily, weekly and monthly targets. I can’t afford to fall behind and lose momentum. It‘ll be hard, it‘ll be long and it‘ll be taxing, but it‘ll be worth it. I’ll be able to look back on this year and truly say that I made a difference. I am not just the same old me, one year older. I have truly taken a step upward…. Or inward.

Was it interesting getting the inside scoop on my feelings? Well guess what, I’m not alone in this, you are right here beside me on this road we call life. If my plan is good for the goose, it’s good for the gander. And if it’s hard for you… well you didn’t seem to mind that it would be hard on me…

Let’s hold hands and wish ourselves success. Indeed, may this year be a true Shanah Tova.