ROSH HASHANAH: Letting Go
Consider: Rosh Hashanah is the first day of the Jewish year. In this time of new beginnings, we begin by looking back at the past year. We regard where we have been, what we have done, and what we have said. We consider what we are proud of and what we might do differently.
Jewish tradition teaches that the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur hold special spiritual weight - it is during these ten days that we have the particular opportunity to make amends. This may mean reaching out to others to set things right, or reaching inwards and apologizing to ourselves.
As we contemplate these ideas, let's take care to look at ourselves honestly - and lovingly. We can choose to let go of the weight of anything that keeps us from growing. (And yes, it’s easier said than done!).
The sage Maimonides (1134-1204) reminds us that this is a multistep process:
“The one who has done wrong shall stop,
and remove wrongdoing from their thoughts,
and wholeheartedly conclude not to revert back to it.
So, too, shall they be remorseful on what was past.
In addition, one speaks aloud their intention.”
Reflect: What behavior do you hope to let go of this year?
Recall, too that this is a multi-step process. The first step is drawing our attention to the behavior or thought pattern.
Then we scan out, and ask ourselves, what do I need to let go of in order to avoid reverting to this behavior/thought pattern/speech in the future? How can I make the letting go easy on myself?
Act: The ritual of tashlich, “casting away,” is a traditional way to release our wrongs. Historically, people have thrown bread into water, but - it's 2022, and the more environmental choice is to throw rocks or stones into water.
When was the last time you got to throw something with all your might? Can throwing the stones, rocks, or leaves into the water be joyful or hopeful? Allow yourself the freedom to play, to mix seriousness with fun.
Alone or with family/friends, take a walk to a flowing body of water.
Gather some stones, rocks, or leaves.
For each rock or leaf, focus on one thing that you wish to let go of.
When you are ready, throw the item into the body of water, with the intention of letting go or casting away your wrongs.
Let the water wash them away.
Let yourself be freed.
How does it feel?
Let us know by sending us an email !
Musical Selection (if you choose): Damien Rice: Trusty and True
Rabbi Bethie Miller writes periodic reflections on the state of our world and the Jewish project. She also writes about creative ideas for combining Jewish wisdom with our modern lives. Here are links to previous ones:
Looking for Hope at the Seder Table (4/13/22)
Happy 9th Night of Hanukkah (12/6/21)
The Healing is in the Return (8/18/21)
Time to Pray (11/2/20)
The Secret to At-One-Ment (9/27/20)
Taking a Sharp Left Turn into 5781 (9/15/20)
Waking Up One Day At Time (8/31/20)
This is Real and You are Completely Unprepared (8/18/20)
The Day is Short (6/16/20)
Spiritual Mountain Climbing Without Leaving the House (5/14/20)
Shabbat Peace, Love & Light (3/20/20)
Sources of Connection as We Practice Social Distancing (3/16/20)
Purim Has Never Felt So Resonant (3/9/20)
The Miracle of Chanukah (12/20/19)
To Be Jewish is To Be Grateful (12/2/19)
What I Learned During the High Holy Days (10/16/19)
New Year, New Project - Welcome to Sanctuary (10/3/19)