Hot and breezy? It’s time for new beginnings.
Wow! My Grade 3 concert. This song takes me back. I remember, I sat on the stairs on the stage of Yeshiva College Primary School hall because I was small, and they didn’t know where else to put the small kids. We kicked our legs as we spoke of the importance of this holiday.
Every year, we would wait for our concert, itching to miss class and sing with our classmates. Rosh Hashanah came around in Grade 3, and there was this change in the air, there is every year, and we were ready.
Rosh Hashanah is always the best time of the year. The weather is great. We get to wear pretty new clothes. We get to eat honey on challah, which enriches the unique taste of the special bread.
But what’s Rosh Hashanah really about?
Rosh Hashanah is a day – or in our case two days – set aside to repent and ask G-d for forgiveness. G-d uses this time to judge all of us, weighing our sins and mitzvot (good deeds), and seeing how the upcoming year will turn out.
We are so busy during the year. Now, we finally have time set aside to help us to become better people. The entire month of Elul is dedicated to helping us be the best we can be.
When we hear the shofar, it’s supposed to give us a wake-up call. It blasts through our ears and awakens our mind, and we realise that we should be asking for forgiveness, we should be giving charity, and we should be using prayer as a medium to connect to G-d.
It’s a time of new beginnings. It’s a time when we can look at ourselves and think, “Huh? Is that who I want to be?”
New beginnings require us to focus on turning away from what’s not right. What better time to do this than right before we stand before the king of all kings?
I have wronged people. All people wrong each other. But when the air changes and it becomes hot with a nice breeze, I know it’s time to reflect on the year I just had and how I treat people.
Rosh Hashanah means that the third term is coming to an end. Everyone is cramming to get assignments in, projects finalised, speeches said. But we often forget that we actually need to go out of our way to be nice. People always appreciate it when something is done with a smile, but we get so lost in ourselves that we forget to think about other people and the fact they might be facing similar pressures.
Rosh Hashanah rolls around at the perfect time. This time of year, people start to lose track of what’s important, and what’s not. It’s a good time to set goals for ourselves. When we set these, it’s important that we include our commitment to achieve them. A goal can’t be accomplished if we’re not willing to do our part in the process. Sometimes it can take a lot of work to achieve what we want in our lives. I have never been afraid to work really hard, and to put all my energy into achieving my dreams and desires.
From primary school, we are taught to reassess ourselves at this time of year. To look at ourselves, and make that change. Even as kids, we know that it’s not all about having a sweet new year and eating apples dipped in honey and the head of a fish.
We realise that when the air gets hotter and the breeze blows in, we should take a step back and look at the past year from a new angle.
- Tanti Perel is in Grade 11 at King David Linksfield and is a student leader and head of the arts and culture committee.