This is my opportunity to wish all of us a Shana Tova U’metukah – a sweet New Year, filled with blessing and with joy! This coming week, we will celebrate Rosh HaShana! L’Shana Tova tikatevu – May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year!
As we prepare, for the High Holy Days, this Shabbat we celebrate the final Shabbat in the Jewish Year 5777 with the reading of the double Torah portion – Nitsavim and VaYelekh. At the beginning of Nitsavim, we read Moses’ words to our people. The Torah tells us that Moses said: “Atem Nitsavim HaYom…You stand this day, all of you, before the Lord your God…” (Deuteronomy 29:9)
The very same theme, stressing the significance of HaYom [today], is found in the Rosh HaShana liturgy as we sing the beautiful words of the prayer “HaYom…”. We pray, HaYom t’amtzeynu. Today, may You give us strength. HaYom t’varcheynu. Today, may You bless us. HaYom t’gadleynu. Today, may You help us reach greatness!
The significance and potential positive power of each day of life is emphasized in our tradition in so many different and wonderful ways, especially as we approach the High Holy Days.
Yet, sometimes, it takes a voice from outside of our own tradition to help us to better appreciate the depth and wisdom of our own tradition! And, so, I hope that a quote from the Dalai Lama will enable us all to appreciate more fully the wisdom of our own HaYom teachings.
In this particular quote, the Dalai Lama speaks about two days in a year in which nothing can be done.
Do you know which two days he had in mind?
Hint: He was not referring to the two days of Rosh HaShana…
The Dalai Lama reportedly said: “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”
“HaYom,” in the context of our Torah as well as in the context of our High Holy Day liturgy, is a powerful word. It is an intense teaching. It is a wise reminder that each and every day of life is valuable, precious, and offers us the opportunity to strive to better ourselves and to bring greater blessing into the world. HaYom, and every day, may we pray for life and may we appreciate life to the fullest!
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tova!