As we prepare to enter a new year, as the blessings of Hashem of the past year leave us, and the blessings of the new year come upon us, I share some thoughts with you my friends as we stand before our Creator in a few brief hours to be judged for a new year.
A few days ago, a cow pee'd on my car. Now if you think about that for a second, you've got to wonder 'how in the world did that happen?' It was a beautiful morning as I drove up the highway to Haifa for a business meeting. My windows were open to enjoy the clean cool air of the morning.
As I made good time up the highway, I came upon an open backed cow transport truck. The cows looked clean and reasonably happy was they were doing 60mph (100kph) up the highway. As I pulled closer and prepared to pass the truck, I saw they even had a running water supply... As the splatter and smell hit my car as that water supply was not water, I had a choice to make.
Do I scream and curse, bemoan my fate, or laugh and say "thanks Hashem for the wake up call this morning" - and run the windshield washer and be on my way? I could not control events, I don't run the world. My choice was in how I dealt with it.
My son called up from yeshiva. He was lightly trimming his beard and he slipped, creating a major hair disaster. He had no choice but to trim the whole beard tight, not the way he likes it. His rosh yeshiva (the yeshiva head rabbi) liked it even less, a whole lot less. He let him know he liked it less, that it was inappropriate, that right before Rosh Hashanah it was a serious thing to practically cut off your beard, and more and more.
My son called me up extremely upset. He never gets such treatment from the rosh yeshiva. He was ready to just walk out.
I told him that he didn't have any choice in getting yelled at. Accidents happen throughout life, and some are going to bring unpleasant responses. There would be future occasions when he'll (G-d forbid) get yelled at by teachers, bosses, hey even your spouse. Sometimes those occasions won't be deserved or directly under his control.
What is under his control is how he responds. Does he accept it quietly and say "Hashem's plan said today I'd get rebuked", or does he throw a fit at the perceived unfairness of the world - from his limited perspective?
What is a Good and Sweet New Year? One in which everyone works out the way we want? Are we really smart enough to get it right? One in which only obviously good things happen? Have not some of your greatest strengths (if not all of them) come through dealing with challenges? A year in which things stay the same, stable and steady? Have not some of your greatest opportunities come unplanned?
I wish all of Klal Yisroel, and the bnei Noach, and all the well wishers of Israel, a good and sweet year - one where Hashem brings the right blessings, the right opportunities, and challenges, and changes. And may we merit the ultimate blessing and ultimate change, the coming of Moshiach Tzidkaynu and the Geulah, mamosh now!
Ksiva v'Chatima Tovah,
(Friday evening starts Shabbos and Rosh Hashanah, a two day Jewish holy day. Blogging will resume, G-d willing, Monday.)