The Jewish New Year has started and I ask myself: what version of me do I want to be?
What do I want to leave behind, and what do I want to keep? What do I want to enhance and strengthen and what doesn’t serve me anymore? What new personal muscles do I want to develop and what’s holding me back and needs to go?
The Chagim, the Jewish festivals, are such a good system actually; they allow us once a year, each year to restart our program.
The Jewish New Year
The Hebrew New Year is always around September when summer ends and children go back to school. We go back to a structure that adds order and stability to our lives.
A New Year is a cosmic structure within which we live, and which allows us to attain a higher level of consciousness and understanding of ourselves in this universe—if we allow it to.
This is a system by which we can enter a new year, another year of our lives, after some observation and with new tools to change; We can observe where we are going—is it the place I want to go to? If so, am I getting there? What do I need to change to be more accurate in my journey to my life goals? Am I achieving the things I set out for myself? If not—why?
Do I surround myself with those who can support me and be the wind behind my sails? What am I to others? Am I their true friend, their inspiration? What and how much do I share of myself and my time? Am I on the giving or receiving end, and how balanced is it?
Fasting: Physical and Spiritual Decluttering
After the observation, comes the cleanדing and letting go on the Fast of Yom Kippur. Cleaning out what detracted me from my true self, at the same time as forgiving myself and others and opening a new page for a cleaner brighter year.
We all have a tendency to keep things that don’t serve us anymore, whether it’s too many clothes or too many thoughts.
The past is there to learn from but can also be a heavy bag to carry on our shoulders, hearts, and minds. On Yom Kippur, we can bathe ourselves with light that can wash away unnecessary even harmful thoughts and feelings that could turn to actions. We just need to be prepared to let go of our bodies’ needs for one day and fully embrace and concentrate on our inner light in humility and forgiveness.
The Festival of Booths: A Shared Adventure
Unity, compassion, and peace are the attributes to connect with and attain on the Festival of Booths, aka Sukkot. We build a humble house of warmth, welcome, giving and sharing to all we come across: family, friends, neighbors, and passers-by.
The representation of the festival of Tabernacles, Sukkot, is the importance of building an inner safe place, a home, that goes with us wherever we are, and stays open to welcome friends, family and people we meet in our lives, in harmony, unity and peace. The temporary shack we sit in for a week, protects us and surrounds us with light, love, kindness and wisdom to keep for the whole year, to lead our lives more peacefully.
And of course, the absolute vital energy of happiness and joy is there for us to receive in bulk, on Simchat Torah, celebrating the end of the annual cycle of reading through the entire Torah, and starting a new, from Bereshit. The energy of elation and rejoicing to draw upon the whole year. Dancing, singing and expressing joy together is a very important element of our lives.
In fact, these above 4 elements are there for us each week, helping, guiding and healing us for the coming week. We can take time to do just that every weekend, regardless of any religious affiliation. Just connecting to the energy of the day of rest, imbues us with energy and can assist us in renewing ourselves.
We can take time to observe our week and reflect; get more accurate and clean out what's unnecessary; be compassionate and merciful to ourselves and others, and finally connect to togetherness and happiness.
We can make a game plan for the week that’s about to start on how we can share more of ourselves, by say, giving a few hours of time to help a friend, a parent, a charity etc. This could be grabbing two birds at the same time—both helping and sharing kindness, and also increasing our level of joy and fulfillment.
We can decide to be more mindful and watch our thoughts, to see we don’t go to the same pattern of destructive thoughts, but instead, connect to positivity and renewed energy.
The options are plenty—and we are the masters, we decide!
Let’s take time out on the day of rest to fill our basket, our vessel, with love, light, and happiness to shine the whole week and nourish us throughout, guiding us with our daily decisions and supporting the version of ourselves that we chose to be this year.
Wishing a great start to the best version of us all!
Loves people and life, curious, adventurous and deep, Hillit likes healing, connecting and bridging between people; enhancing their understanding of themselves and others. For years has worked on peace education projects with International multi-faith youth. Walks, lives and breaths a spiritual path. A creator through Art and writing, uses art, writing and colour as a healing process. Born in Israel and grew up in London. Lives in Hertzelia with her musician, therapist husband.