Not quite being out of the swamp caused by the beginning-of-semester deluge, the yamim tovim sort of snuck up on me this year (two weeks earlier than last year). But last year's thoughts are no less relevant now, and it's time to take my own advice, that I repeat here:
Regardless of whether you practice a form of religious faith, taking time to reflect on the passing of one year and anticipations for the next seems to me to be a worthwhile endeavour. In a world that has become far too busy and complicated to allow time for reflection on process as well as progress, pausing for a day or two of self-contemplation and rechecking one's place relative to one's larger community is something that I find particularly beneficial.
It is interesting to me that the traditional beginning of the year in Judaism occurs in the autumn, when most of nature (at least in this part of the world) seems to be shutting down for the proverbial long winter's nap. It is, to say the least, an odd season to consider the start of a "new year." Perhaps the lesson is this: New beginnings may best occur not in bustling activity, but in quietude, with time for reflection and contemplation of oneself in relation to others, and to the world at large.
To all of you who celebrate at this time of year, my friends, colleagues, readers and random visitors, I wish you and those whom you love, l'shanah tovah tikatevu - may you be inscribed for a good year, a year filled with good health, happiness, prosperity, success, and most of all, peace.
[Technorati tags: rosh hashanah | shanah tovah | new year | judaism]