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Home » Rosh Hashanah

A Unique Rosh Hashanah

Submitted by on September 28, 2008 – 2:31 amNo Comment | 2,722 views

Is it Rosh Hashanah again?

Last Rosh Hashanah was thirteen months ago, but it seems like almost yesterday. There was a time when a year loomed eternal, but as I grow older, and I’m sure you relate to this, the years grow shorter and shorter; they take less and less time to elapse. Not so long ago, the calendar year seemed like a drawn out progression of major milestones; Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim, Pesach and Shavuot; now it is just a whirlwind of activity; each festival rushing to overtake the next.

It is difficult to be inspired by the dawn of a new year when the past year seems to have only just begun. It is hard to feel the significance of the Shofar when last year’s call seems to have just faded. The apple dipped in honey no longer seems momentous, when I ate one like it not one year ago. The sense of déjà vu leaves one uninspired.  How does one grow inspired when the holiday seems without spirit?


As I ponder the problem I realize one unique aspect about this Rosh Hashanah that will distinguish it from every other in history. Never before and never again will there be a Rosh Hashanah quite like this one. You see, this Rosh Hashanah will, for the only time in history, usher in the year five-thousand-six-hundred-and-sixty-nine. This is a unique year; one that has never been ushered in before and will never be ushered in again. In the annals of history this year has never before and will never again appear. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

What will this year augur? That is up to us. We can make the events of this year as routine as the year before or as unique as the year itself; the choice belongs to us. If life were a book and every year a page, the page of this year would not yet be written. We, the authors,, are free to write it as we see fit. So as we hear the Shofar’s call let us listen to the cry that beckons us to make this year special. As we dip the apple in honey and pray at the river bank let us endeavour to ensure that this year is not just a repeat of the past, but a forecast of a brighter future. Let us ensure that our morrow will indeed be unique.

Every Moment

In a sense every day, nay, every moment, is unique; it appears only once in the history of time. kosher for an hourI recall one of my mentors, who began each lecture with a reminder that time is precious. A moment not utilized or spent inattentively is a moment lost to eternity. The next moment cannot make up for the previous one nor stand in for the next one. Each moment stands for itself, unique in the passage of time. If they are each significant and special, why is Rosh Hashanah more significant than this very moment, in which you, dear reader, read these very lines?

The unique nature of every moment is only relevant to those who are subject to the passage of time, whereas Rosh Hashanah is unique even to G-d. G-d and the creatures of heaven transcend the very notion of time. G-d exists at once in the past, present and future. To G-d, past, present and future lose their distinct characters as they merge into a single warp that transcends time itself; a warp so transcendental as to remain utterly nameless. Accordingly, from G-d’s perspective no moment can be unique for moments are never lost to eternity. Every moment is present before G-d whether it has already elapsed or has yet to transpire.

Rosh Hashanah is the only exception; it is unique even to G-d.

The Energy of Potential

 The Jewish mystics taught that G-d does not engage in repetitive rhythms of time. Though our calendrical cycle seems to repeat itself from year to year, its mystical dimensions are unique every year, in fact each year surpasses its predecessor. Every year, on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, a new light or spiritual energy, greater than all previous lights, radiates from the highest level of the Divine. A powerful light was ushered in on Rosh Hashanah of 5768 that surpassed all lights that preceded it, yet the light of 5769 will surpass even this one.

The light we speak of is metaphysical. Though it is not visible to the human eye, its effects are eminently discernable for this light endows us with the potential to ascend in our spiritual service of G-d. Every year we are gifted with stronger abilities and greater potential to do good. Rosh Hashana of this year will be unique in the annals of history for on this day G-d will endow us with more potential to perform in the cause of goodness than ever before. These abilities will be unprecedented, but it will be up to us to put them to use. Our behaviour during the course of the two vital days of Rosh Hashana will determine just how potent this light will be for us individually. In large part this determination, is commensurate with the level of resolve and repentance that we exhibit during Rosh Hashanah.

In Five-thousand-six-hundred and-sixty-nine years there has never been a year quite like this one. The momentous significance of this occasion is enough to enflame the passion and inspire the spirit. Let us take full advantage of the opportunity and celebrate Rosh Hashanah with every ounce of enthusiasm that we can muster. Let us parlay the energy of this holiday into a year of kindness and goodness. Let us resolve to show G-d a side of us that has never been seen before and may G-d respond, in turn, with blessings for a happy, good and sweet new year.

Shanah Tovah