Return and Renew – A Message for Rosh Hashanah

A High Holy Day Message from AJRCA

Though this has been a very challenging year for many of us, we as Jews never give up the faith that the potential for renewal and bringing forth Light from the darkness is built into the creation. On Rosh Hashana there is always the stirring of a new illumination as the Sound of the Shofar awakens us from slumber and despair to the power innate in our souls to return to G-d, to rekindle the Great Light and to reignite the treasure of new life.

Our tradition offers us the blessing of rebirth every year, as we work to commit ourselves to the powerful energy that Teshuvah bestows upon us to overcome evil. Teshuvah can turn the most ordinary of us into a spiritual force. This is the state that we enter into when we practice a return to G-d who awaits us, and gives us the strength to achieve actualization of good in this world.

We sometimes forget that the aggressive capacity we waste on conflict with others can be harnessed to fight against injustice in the world and create harmony within. The sounds of the Shofar, the path of Teshuvah will give strength and inspiration to those who seek to turn judgment into compassion, fear into courage, and selfishness into kindness. When we do Teshuva we are creating armor for the battle against our own impatience, inadequacy, resentment, and hostility. G-d will rouse us to action by reminding us that our real self is pure no matter what our past errors. We can throw off our ego mask with all its fears if we put trust in the Lord, and do everything possible to bring peace, justice and security to our world.

Rosh Hashana overcomes despair, and returns us to the resplendent Light!

May each of us be blessed to reach a full individual Teshuva this year and bring the entire world to its full potential, and let us say Amen.

Shana Tova U’Metukah,
Rabbi Mel Gottlieb

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