The Jewish New Year begins tonight. The Days of Awe. That's what the ten days between Rosh Hashana (literally Head of the Year) and Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement) are called. They are days when we ask forgiveness for any wrong-doing in the past year - not just divine forgiveness, but also from the humans and other beings in our lives. (Okay, I'm not a Jewish scholar. I'm guessing dogs, cats, horses, etc. aren't mentioned - I include them.) They are a chance to start fresh. To clear away debt. To ask to be re-inscribed in the Book of Life for another year.
That last, in itself, is awesome.
We are told that on Rosh Hashana, G-d opens the Book of Life. While it is open, anything can be written - or erased. We can drop the burdens of guilt we've been carrying. We can reaffirm our faith. We can choose to lead our lives in a healthy way, thereby choosing life. Of course, we can also decide to do none of these things. It's up to us. But on Yom Kippur, the Book of Life is closed for another year, and whatever has been written is now permanent. It's kind of like a spiritual annual report.
The flip-side, of course, is that we are also asked to grant forgiveness to whomever asks. And we are asked to forgive ourselves. That's the hardest part, for me.
As the sun falls below the horizon this evening, I hope to be filled with the awe of the season. I pray that I am granted forgiveness, as I grant it to others. And I am grateful for the opportunity to step out of ordinary life and enter this holy space where I am part of a community, part of something larger than myself.
May you be inscribed in the Book of Life. Happy New Year.