Celebrate Two Birthdays: Ghandi’s and the World’s
Today is Gandhi’s birthday.
Tonight, with the setting of the sun,
will be Rosh Hashanah
when Jews celebrate
the birthday of the world
and the birth of humankind.
Non-violence requires a double faith,
faith in God and also in man.
The Jewish New Year calls us to restore faith.
We will spend the next ten days
working on ourselves
admitting our wrongs
and committing to making them right.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.
The Jewish New Year teaches the same:
Forgive and seek forgiveness
as if you were to die tomorrow.
Learning is meant to be
a part of our daily routine.
It guides our growth.
A civilization is to be judged
by its treatment of minorities.
The Jewish New Year teaches
that we will be judged too –
by our every action on every level.
The best way to find yourself
is to lose yourself in the service of others.
The journey of these next ten days
from Rosh Hashanah, our Jewish New Year,
to Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement,
requires that we heal
our relationships with others first.
Judaism cannot be lived in isolation,
only in community.
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
your thoughts become your words,
your words become your actions,
your actions become your habits,
your habits become your values,
your values become your destiny.
Rosh Hashanah teaches that
with words worlds were created.
As we look back to our birth,
God spoke the world into being.
We are cognizant that
our words create realities
that can destroy or uplift.
Where there is love, there is life.
The Jewish New Year
opens ten days of repentance
that conclude with Yom Kippur.
“Choosing life” is our goal
that we can achieve through
our outward and inward righteousness.
The commandments to
“love your neighbor as yourself,”
to “love the stranger”
for you once were that stranger,
and to “love God,”
are at the heart of our work.
Birthdays are a time of reflection –
Who am I?
Am I fulfilling the vision I had for my life
and living up to the values of my faith?
How have I fallen short
in all of my relationships?
Where have I gotten lost
and how do I need to change?
Ghandi’s birthday calls us
to protest what we see
in the most peaceful and productive way.
Rosh Hashanah, the world’s birthday
and the birth of humanity,
calls us to protest as well,
not only others’ actions but our own.
Rosh Hashanah calls us to act with humanity,
in prayer, in action, in life.
the Divine within me
recognizes and honors
the Divine within you.
May it be a good New Year.