In Hebrew this means ” A good year” it is a greeting that is used around Rosh Hashanah which is the Jewish New Year. A holiday celebrated last week by Jews around the world.
Every year this makes me think. It is September (as the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar and not a solar calendar it does not fall the same time each year. Much like Easter) and to me September signifies the beginning of the end of the year. The growing season here in North America is coming to an end.
The trees are beginning to turn color. The daylight hours are becoming shorter. Cooler nights. Warm days fight it out with cooler days. Baseball is winding down. Well at least in New York it is.
The daylight is getting shorter and shorter, the temperature is dropping. Soon it will be snowing. The cold wind howling. Slush and ice everywhere and not a thing on television worth watching (imagine that, a thousand channels and nothing to watch). I go to the basement and check on the oil in the tank for my furnace. Make sure that there is gasoline for the generator for when that Nor Easter hits with a foot of snow and the power goes out. My wife and I take turns shoveling a path to the car and then dig the cars out so that I can go to work, etc. etc.
Then miraculously in the end of December the days begin to get longer. The sun feels a bit stronger each day. It is still cold, we still get snow but it begins to feel different. Especially by February. The sun filters into the living room and teases us with momentary warmth. Eventually the first signs of life begin to return to our part of the planet.
Snow melts, migratory birds return and we hear their chirping asking for food and looking for a mate to build a nest with. Buds form on the plants, flowers begin to bloom. Spring Training begins in February and soon we will hear the sound of “Play Ball” and the roar of the crowd. People shed layers, and begin to come out of their homes and stretch as if it is the beginning of a new day, a new year, a new opportunity at life. We catch up with our neighbors, who we haven’t seen since Christmas when we shared some hot chocolate and cookies. The planet looks green, not grey and shabby. Truly it is a new year.
So, why does the Jewish Religion celebrate New Year in the Autumn when life is hunkering down for a long winter’s nap? OK maybe I could understand celebrating in December after the sun creeps over the Equator, or in April when the flowers are in bloom, and the grass turns green, But Autumn? I don’t get it.
I have never been a student of the Bible or the Talmud so I have no answers to these questions. If you do, please pass them along to me. I would love to hear from you because I have pondered this question for many a year.
In the meantime, a few days late but- L’shanah Tova.