Parashat Hashavua for Rosh Hashanah 2020

Parashat Hashavua for Rosh Hashanah

Rabbi Adi Cohen
Temple David, Perth, WA

Squeezing the best out of the worst  

Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya was 18 years old when he was called into leadership in a time of communal crisis. 

He stayed up most of the night in anguish, fearing he lacked the age and experience necessary for the position. But when he woke up the next morning, R’ Elazar looked like a 70 year old, having miraculously aged many years overnight, with the newfound wisdom to match his new grey hair.

For many of us, it has been a great year: a year of new beginnings, first steps into adulthood. People became parents for the first time, grandparents met their grandchildren for the first time, families were having Zoom family reunions more than ever before. 

For many of us, the past year has been painful and challenging: supporting family members and loved ones from a distance, facing financial instability, social isolation, and the stress of daily uncertainties.  

We have also learnt so much during this time. 

We were forced to confront our mortality. 

We learnt that there are deep systemic inequalities in our country and that we can act to correct them.

We had to consider our priorities, how we utilise our time, how we maintain social life and relationships. 

We learned that sometimes it is OK not to be OK, a
nd that we can enjoy a few quiet days on our own.

Like Rabbi Eliezer, many of us feel like we have aged years in a matter of days.

What have you learned this past year? About yourself? About your community? About the world?

When did you experience an act of lovingkindness? How did it made you feel?

What kind of chesed have you performed for someone else? How did it made you feel? 

During this past year, we were mostly reacting to the drastic changes that were forced open us. 

May the coming year be a year in which we can choose how to respond to the ever-changing world in a positive and constructive way. 

May it be a better year, a year of good health in body, spirit and soul, a good year for our families, our friends and for us all.

Shanah Tovah and G’mar Chatima Tovah.

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