Decisions for the Jewish New Year – 2011-5772


It’s Rosh Hashanah again.  The Jewish New Year arrives on Wednesday night, September 28th.  Jews worldwide will mark their Jewish calendar with the number 5772 since creation.  Families will meet at prayer services and spend time praying to God for a blessed year.  At least one family meal will be had with the customary apple dipped in honey symbolizing the hope for a sweet year.


This year I am resolving to work on decision-making.  And, indeed, decision-making can be tiring.  I ask how qualified are we to make a decision and how do we know when we are really judging things correctly?  These questions come to mind as I prepare for the Jewish New Year.  What am I going to resolve to do this year?  What needs to be put into its proper place?


Years ago, a young widow came to me with her problems.  She was at the end of her rope.  “I’ve had it.” She said.  “My husband died and left me with bills and more bills.  The children are out of control.  They are doing badly in school and they have no friends.  As a mother I try to make them happy.  I take them to their clubs, to the library, to the park, to any place where they can meet other children but for some reason they won’t play with anybody.  I’ve tried everything and have lost.  I have decided that it doesn’t pay to live.  I am going to commit suicide.”  After listening to her problems I too felt overwhelmed, not knowing where to turn. 

I prayed, “Dear God, give me the right thing to say.”  Turning to the woman I told her, “I agree with you.  There is no hope for you.  Suicide may be the answer, but let’s wait three years.  By then the children will be old enough to care for each other.  Why should you leave them doubly orphaned at this tender age?”  Somehow this made sense to her. 


Now years have passed and she is doing wonderful things.  She is going strong, she has had the joy of seeing her children grow up, some of them married and now has grandchildren.  In this case I was lucky to make the right decision for a person who was about to make the wrong decision.


Every one of us must learn how to make the right decision.  We have to learn how to judge things correctly and indeed, this is a very hard thing to accomplish.  We may delude ourselves when we believe that we are always right and the others are wrong.  When  we do something that may not be correct we justify by blindly thinking, calling it a white lie, a little bit of an indiscretion but in truth we are making bad decisions.


This year, Rosh Hashanah, when I go to the Synagogue with my family I am going to make a firm resolution to think about my decisions and my judgments  I will pray asking God to clearly show me the difference between a correct decision and a wrong decision.  Maybe then I will have a better year.

According to Jewish tradition the holiday of Rosh Hashanah is the day that Adam, the first man, was created.  He was not Jewish, Christian or Muslim.  He was created by God to accept a higher mission than the beasts.  He was to live in the world with kindness and preserve its peace. 


It would be wonderful if all mankind would celebrate the world’s New Year by inviting God to enter their hearts.  After all it’s mankind’s day of birth so on this Rosh Hashanah I wish you all a happy birthday.  May it be a year of peace with our soldiers safely coming home.