Opinion: Editorial: Wishful Thinking

Opinion: Editorial: Wishful Thinking

High Holiday Services Schedule

In anticipation of the upcoming Jewish New Year, Chabad of Reston-Herndon has announced its High Holiday Services schedule.

For information on Chabad's open to the community services for Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 10-11) and Yom Kippur (Sept. 18-19), as well as to reserve a seat, visit http://www.chabad...">www.chabadrh.org

Membership is not required to join. All are welcome, regardless of background or affiliation. We do ask for you to make a reservation however so that seating can be assured.

The services will be user-friendly, with a Hebrew-English Prayer Book (Machzor) making it enjoyable and meaningful for both the seasoned and the unversed. The services will be traditional, yet thoroughly contemporary, interspersed with traditional and modern Jewish tunes, English readings and a running commentary led by Rabbi Fajnland.

In addition, a special children's program will accompany the adult services.

For more information on the above event, call Rabbi Leibel Fajnland at 703-476-1829, visit http://www.chabad...">www.chabadrh.org , or write to Rabbi@chabadrh.org.

It’s that time of the year again. The High Holy Days are upon us and we might as well face the passing of another year. This time of year you might be wondering to yourself: What do I have to show for this year? Is it a “write-off,” or did I achieve my stated goals? What will I wish for in the coming year? Is it a repeat of last year’s wishes?

It must be exasperating to discover that, in fact, this year’s wish list is really no different to last year’s, or the year before- or the year before that! Each year the various media outlets poll hopes and dreams in advance of the New Year and invariably it goes something like this: 1. World peace; 2. Security; 3. Success (both financial and with relationships - we call it “Nachas”). Every year! Shouldn’t it change? Surely, if last year’s wishes were fulfilled we should have new ones for the New Year, and if they weren’t fulfilled, why ask again?

So I wonder if maybe we’re aiming too high. I wonder if the lesson of the past year is to get more realistic and start aiming for something more within reach, something that might actually happen in the next year. A little less idealism and a little more realism.

Literally translated, Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish “New Years Day”) means “head” of the year.

In the Jewish New Year, the analogy is clear: just as the head is the origin of all vitality in the entire body — the brain instructs the movements of the body — so too it is with Rosh Hashanah. In it, and through it, is decreed the energy, vitality and blessing of the next twelve months. These are indeed solemn days, moments in time that will affect you long after they are gone; our conduct has far reaching consequences.

And so rather than hoping for the “big” changes, whether personal or global, we should be asking ourselves, “what will I do” to see these lofty wishes realized? Rather than lowering our wishes, elevate our conduct. The meditation of the past year is phrased thus: has my life and behaviour of the last 12 months been consistent with the wishes and hopes that I express over this solemn period? Have I been in touch with my inner, ideal, self and lived another day to reach those goals, or have I been disconnected from myself, living a surreal existence chasing the immediate opportunity and instant gratification?

While it may seem far fetched that our Rosh Hashanah resolutions will impact history, our Sages OBM teach us, in one of the most moving High Holiday prayers, that “Repentance, Prayer, and Charity avert the evil decree.” Indeed, when considering which actions we should take on to enable us to realize our wishes, our focus should be in these three areas of life: the earnest regret of Repentance, expressing the desire to be truer to oneself; coming closer to G-d and ourselves through Prayer, and an increased awareness of one’s responsibility towards others - the ideal of charity or Tzedaka.

By all means, make a wish. Then make it come true.

Shana Tova!