ASK BIG QUESTIONS
Rosh Hashanah 2015/5776
1) What Will You Do Better this Year?
Isaiah 55:6-7 You should seek God while God may be found, call upon God while God is near; Let the wicked forsake his way, and the man of iniquity his thoughts; and let him return unto God, and God will have compassion upon him, and to our God, for God will abundantly pardon.
Do a Heshbon HaNefesh, an accounting of the soul.
(Follow this link for a great step by step, as well as an explanation of where the custom began in the 12th century: http://www.jewishmag.com/58mag/chesbon/chesbon.htm)
If your friend calls you an ass, put a saddle on your back.
If you have any shortcomings– you be the first to reveal them.
Though the wine belongs to the horse, the butler gets the praise.
A hungry dog will eat even stones.
If you will help lift the load, then I will lift also; if not, then I will not do it alone. (Found in Bava Kamma 92b)
2) What has your Jewish practice looked like in the past year? How do you want it to look in the coming one?
Help us to be modest in our demands of one another, but generous in our giving to each other. May we never measure how much love or encouragement we offer; may we never count the times we forgive. Rather, may we always be grateful that we have one another and that we are able to express our love in acts of kindness.
Keep us gentle in our speech. When we offer words of criticism, may they be chosen with care and spoken softly. May we waste no opportunity to speak words of sympathy, of appreciation, of praise.
Bless our family with health, happiness, and contentment. Above all, grant us the wisdom to build a joyous and peaceful home in which Your spirit will always abide. Amen. (Gates of Shabbat, p. 82)
3) What is one thing you will change in the new year, be it Jewish or otherwise?
R. Isaac…said: Four things cancel the doom of a man, namely, charity, supplication, change of name and change of conduct. (Talmud, Masechet Rosh Hashanah, 16b)
In the hour when an individual is brought before the heavenly court for judgement, the person is asked:
Did you conduct your [business] affairs honestly?
Did you set aside regular time for Torah study (learning)?
Did you work at having children (a legacy)?
Did you look forward to the world’s redemption? (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 31a)
4) What Jewish principles do you want to consciously add to your life to enhance it?
When God created Adam, God led him around the Garden of Eden and said to him: “Behold my works! See how beautiful they are, how excellent! All that I have created, for your sake did I create it. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy my world; for if you do, there will be no one to repair it after you.” (Ecclesiastes Rabba 7:13)
Rabbinical Student – HUC-JIR, 2018
Congregation Beth aaron, Billings
Follow my Journey at: http://jewishwanderings.blogspot.com