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Rosh Hashana 5784

09/14/2023 12:16:16 PM


Rabbi Hearshen

Confession time (I mean its High Holiday time): I am a Swiftie. I actually spent a couple hours this year trying to score tickets to her sold out tour and was utterly bummed when I was unable to get tickets. I don’t listen to a lot of music in the car, I spend most of the time listening to talk radio, books and podcasts, but when I have listened to music this year, I have to admit I always got a bit uplifted when a Taylor Swift song came on the radio. Here’s her biggest one of this year:

I have this thing where I get older but just never wiser
Midnights become my afternoons
When my depression works the graveyard shift
All of the people I've ghosted stand there in the room

I should not be left to my own devices
They come with prices and vices
I end up in crisis (tale as old as time)
I wake up screaming from dreaming
One day I'll watch as you're leaving
'Cause you got tired of my scheming
(For the last time)

It's me, hi, I'm the problem, it's me
At tea time, everybody agrees
I'll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror
It must be exhausting always rooting for the anti-hero

These are just the opening words of the song and I think we can use them for the work we have ahead of us this week. Each year we reach Rosh Hashana and feel a sense of déjà vu because we did the same thing the last year. We often feel we’ve gotten older and yet we haven’t gained any wisdom from our years. Now is the time to learn and grow. When we’re left to our own devices, we often feel like we’re spinning out of control. But the most important message is the basic chorus: It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me. Those very words are liberating and an immense opportunity for growth. We love to deflect and project on others. We love to look outward but fear examining inward. We love to see ourselves in the position of being the good guy and never the bad one. But the reality is we’re called upon to look in the mirror and not merely through a window. We’re called upon to see how we can change and to stop thinking others are the ones needing to change. We need to find our peace and not through the actions of others.

As this year comes to a close, it’s time to do what we’ve always done… welcome a new one. What will make this year unique and different? What will help us to shake the monkey off of our backs? How can we grow and change? It all begins by looking within ourselves. It is written in the Talmud, Sukkah 53a:

(During the Celebration of Sukkot), there were those who said: (men whose entire lives had been spent in righteous living) "Happy for our youth that has not disgraced our old age." There were the righteous. The penitents among them would say, however, "Happy our old age which has atoned for our youth." Both would say, "Happy is the person who has not sinned, but let him who has sinned return to Hashem and He will pardon him."

As we grow up… as we go through the cycle of the year time and again we gain wisdom and vision to be able to see within ourselves. May it be that as we gather we shy away from merely going through the motions of reading and singing the words on the page and instead we find a way to bring them to life with our own actions. It all begins by realizing: “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem it’s me.”

From Carrie, Ayelet, Galit and myself, we wish you a happy and healthy new year.
תזכו לשנים רבות


Mon, October 2 2023 17 Tishrei 5784