The New Year

I have been working hard to come up with a thoughtful and coherent post about my thoughts and feelings regarding Rosh Hashanah and all that surrounds it. I write and edit and write and delete and write and scream because none of the words carry the weight or import of my heart.

I stand here before G-d acknowledging a few basic truths, or truths as I understand and accept them.
  • I believe in G-d.
  • I believe that there are multiple paths to G-d.
  • I believe that Judaism is the best path for me to G-d.
  • I do not believe that you have to believe in G-d to be a good person.
  • I have an obligation to my family, friends and community to try and improve the world.
  • I sometimes fail but I try hard to meet this obligation.
Those are some of the basic thoughts. Had I been asked to engage in my own akedah I would have refused. I have to believe that Yitzhak suffered real trauma from this, but who really knows.

A couple more thoughts. I am still trying to be the man that my father is. I still seek his approval, but not because I haven't received it. I have. There is no doubt that my father is proud of me, but I cannot help but be the dutiful son and look to him for the example.

Last year when my father lay upon his death bed and truly became just a man to me I learned many different things, some of which I have shared and others that I have not but may some day.

In the year to come I pray to be a better person and hope for a year of less violence, less stress and less strain around the world. I pray that we wake up to a world in which healthcare is affordable, education is plentiful and no one goes hungry.

A happy and healthy year to all. Shana tovah to everyone.


Stacey said...

"Had I been asked to engage in my own akedah I would have refused."

I would have refused, too. And I still have issues with G-d for even asking that he do this.

Jack Steiner said...

Hi Darla,

I am jammed for time now so I cannot give you a proper response, but I'll try and make this short.

It is an issue of respect.

michelle said...

Wonderfully put.

stc said...

Darla / Jack:
I'm familiar with some of the background, but not all of it. (And, not being Jewish, I just write "God").

One of the commandments given to Moses was, "Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God".

Jews have always taken that commandment very seriously and do not want to risk violating it even inadvertently. As you say, it is a question of showing respect. The solution is, don't use the actual name of God at all — substitute something else in its place.

In the commandment, the word "LORD" is actually God's name. Jews substitute Adonai (= Lord) in its place, and Christians have continued the practice in our translations of scripture.

Another example is, "the kingdom of heaven" instead of "the kingdom of God".

That's as far as I can take the discussion, Jack. I must admit I've always puzzled over the use of "G-d", but I assume the practice arises from the same concern.

stc said...

Oops, I also meant to wish you a happy and healthy year, too, Jack.

TRW said...

Jack, c'siva v'chasima tova. May you have a great year with success and goodness and general wonderfulness (I'm not so good with eloquence ;) )


Anonymous said...

Shana Tova to you and your family. Thanks for the wonderful reading your journal makes every day.

Jack Steiner said...

Hi Q,

That works for me. Thank you, Happy New Year to you too.

Misanthrope, TRW, Stacey and Sandra,

Shana Tova to all of you and thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts, I appreciate them.

Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

I enjoyed and was touched by your thoughts and feelings.

Wishing a wonderful new year.

May God Bless you and your family

Jack Steiner said...

Hi Suzie,


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