"The birthday of the world..."
BLESSING FOR THE NEW YEAR
Most people think that they rarely pray, but when was the last time you said to someone, "Have a great day!" or "I hope you feel better soon..." When was the last time you were watching a game and shouted out for your favorite team? These are all very simple and subtle forms of prayer.
This time of year we wish each other "Shanah tovah," which also seems like a very simple prayer for a "good year." However the root letters of the Hebrew word for "year" shanah, bring two paradoxical meanings. Shanah is related to the Hebrew word for "change" leshanot, but it is also related to the word mishneh which means "repeat." So what exactly are we praying for when we say the words, "Shanah tovah," good change or good repetition?
Perhaps the answer is both. When we say the words "Shanah Tovah" we can bring the intention that this will be a good year of both change and repetition. I pray for a "Shanah Tovah" for all my new friends of Torat Yisrael. This year may we have the courage to "change" bad habits and replace them with good ones. May we also have the strength to "repeat" the good habits that worked last year so that we will truly have a Shanah Tovah!
Rabbi Aaron Philmus
Rabbi Aaron brings a traditional style and approach of prayer to the conservative synagogue. He has a background in ecology and Jewish education and teaches Torah through agriculture and wilderness skills, and plays guitar as a way to bring music to the synagogue. He’s a naturalist who believes that everything stems from nature, and he understands the plight of others who are less fortunate, and how to use the land to enrich ourselves.