Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rosh Hashana

Today is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.

Like many holidays, it is rich with tradition and symbolism. For example:
  • Meals often include apples and honey - to symbolize a sweet new year
  • Round Challah is served - to symbolize the continuation of life
  • A shofar (ram's horn) is blown to "awaken and remind people to reflect on their lives"

Jewish tradition teaches that during the High Holy Days (Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur) G-d decides who will live and who will die in the coming year. As a result, during this time, Jews examine their lives and repent for any wrongs they have committed in the previous year. We are encouraged to make amends and plan for improving ourselves in the next year. In this way, Rosh Hashana is all about striving to be a better person.

The traditional greeting for Rosh Hashana is "Shana Tovah" - happy new year. The more complete greeting includes "may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year".

I sat in synagogue this morning without Brandon and listened to the prayer asking to be inscribed for a good year. And I was filled with rage. Rage that Brandon, who is so kind and good and giving, who has a heart of gold, is lying in pain in a hospital instead of celebrating with us. Rage that families are sitting here taking life for granted. Rage that this merciful g-d that we are praying to dares (yes, I actually thought "dares") to put Brandon through this. I know this is not the spirit of the holiday, and part of me hates that I felt this way, but here is the truth.

If G-d truly is making these decisions in the next 10 days, then Brandon should be healthy and home quickly. Because that is the right thing, because that would be just, because the current state is not fair according to any scripture you read.

So I am having a hard time getting into the 'spirit' of the holiday. I hope g-d understands, I hope g-d hears us, and I hope that this year will truly be "Shana Tovah".