“Rabbi Eliezer said: ‘In Tishrei the world was created…’”
Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 10b)
As children, we are taught that Rosh Hashanah celebrates the birthday of the world. Yet the “birthday” idea remains relevant even as we grow older. For what do we do when our own birthday is approaching? We begin to take stock of our lives, asking ourselves the hard questions: Am I where I should be in life? Have I accomplished what I thought I would by this stage? Am I as fit and healthy as others my age? Is it time to get serious about planning my future? An impending birthday is a looming moment of truth that motivates us to make meaningful change in our lives.
As the world’s birthday approaches, we take stock not only of the material and the physical, but also of the spiritual and moral, asking not just “Am I where I want to be in life?” but “Am I who I want to be in life?” “How have I treated my peers, my friends, my family, the environment, and all the other works of Creation?” “Am I behaving in ways that make God’s world a better place?” “If I were to meet its Creator tomorrow, could I stand upright, or would I cower in shame?” “What can I change between now and this sacred milestone approaching?”
Every Rosh Hashanah poses a sacred milestone, inspiring us to take stock of our lives spiritually and morally, and granting us the opportunity to change our ways and our destiny. May each successive milestone bring us closer to who we want to become, and to the world the Holy One imagined at its creation.
--Rabbi Nicole Roberts