A Rosh Hashanah message

August 22, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick, the president of the Rabbinical Council of Victoria has sent a message for Rosh Hashanah.

Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick

Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick

The Jewish New Year is unique in that it is not heralded in with wild partying and revelry. Instead it is set aside as a time for serious retrospection and introspection – leading to serious and honest resolutions for change and improvement.

We have a lot to think about this year when attempting to formulate constructive action. For many of us, constructive action in areas of major concern for the Jewish people may truly seem beyond us. What influence can most of us have on the decisions being made by governments and in world forums to ensure the security and safety of Israel? How can we as individuals add to meaningful efforts towards the continuity of our people in general? What can we do to ensure our own needs for health, sustenance and nachas from our families in the coming year?

For some of us the response may be feelings of apathetic helplessness. For others it may be scepticism.

Our Jewish faith teaches us a much more constructive approach. Rosh Hashanah has been designated as a time of faith and prayer.

Although some would argue that modern man has lost the drive or ability to communicate with G‑d, it is a fact that at one time or another we all find ourselves addressing Him. It may be at a time of deep distress or sorrow. It may be at a time when we are overwhelmed with gratitude for a seemingly undeserved happiness. I may be when we are confronted with the beauty of a wondrous natural scene. It may simply be when we wish to somehow seek forgiveness and go through a “cleansing experience“.

Our mystics tell us that it is this thought that is behind the otherwise strange ritual of sounding a simple ram’s horn – the shofar – as the highlight of our Rosh Hashanah celebrations.

They compare the plain, piercing sounds of the Shofar to a simple and wordless cry from the depth of one’s heart and soul. This succinctly sums up for us what Rosh Hashanah is all about. It is a time for simple, unencumbered communication between ourselves and our Creator as we make a final reckoning concerning the past year and pray for and express hope for success and happiness in the coming year. We are assured that such a sincere approach is accepted immediately,

I extend blessings on behalf of the Victorian Rabbinate that we will be inspired by all the emotions and feelings that the Shofar should evoke, but most of all I hope that it, and the rest of the Rosh Hashanah services, truly succeed in touching our hearts and souls. This should then, in turn, help us to properly and sincerely ask for – and ultimately receive – G-d’s abundant blessings for a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year with added emphasis on blessings of peace, security and safety for our people in Israel and throughout the world.

Rosh Hashanah is not exclusively a Jewish experience. Our sages teach us that the world in general is judged at this time. May we indeed merit a more ethical, moral and peaceful future for all of mankind and the fulfilment of the words of the Prophet Zecharia: “And G-d will be King over all the earth – in that day He and His Name will be One.”

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