Monday, October 24, 2016

Written In The Book Of Life

In Israel and in the Jewish calendar the new year begins on September 1st in the solar calendar (schools go back) and Tshrei 1st in the lunar calendar (Rosh Hashanna). The Hebrew new year starts three weeks of intensive festivals marking the new year, days of repentance, atonement, finishing the annual cycle of reading the Torah, and the sealing of the book of life and death.

Rosh Hashana can fall any time from September 5th to October 5th. and this year was almost the latest it ever gets. There has been loads of synagogue time, eating with friends and family, holidays from work and school, street festivals, days out, etc... However, it's also a time of retrospection, repentance, and atonement.

Tonight was the final sealing of the book of life or death for the coming year. We hope we have been written in the book of life, but of course there's no way of knowing. Did we do enough praying, apologising and forgiving during the past three weeks? I probably didn't.

What I did do was a lot of introspecting (is that a word?), declutterng, preparing coursework for the coming year, and mental revving up for the duration.

For months no one has been motivated to get much done as there is no real routine. No sooner do we go back to school than we have three weeks of holidays and holy days. The phrase, 'after the festivals,' is ubiquitously used as an excuse for not really getting stuck in to anything after the long summer until the end of the festival period.

Well it starts tomorrow folks! No more excuses. Yesterday I was actually cold enough to put on socks and long sleeves. New Year, I'm ready for you! I'm written in the book of readiness and good intentions, this much I know.


  1. I think of September as our real New Year - the temperatures change, your clothing changes and everyone's schedule is so different once school begins - we seem to go full tilt until about mid-December - and then we go on hold until "after the holidays" - then you have that long haul until Easter. It is interesting though that in this increasingly secular world - festivals and occasions still govern our lives so much.

  2. It's nice that they do even in a secular world. I'm waiting for some European countries to start debating whether they should change the Xmas holidays to fit in with Moslem holidays. Our holidays of Passover and Chanuka losely fit in with Xmas and Easter and sometimes Sukkot is close to the Autumn half term holiday. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

    1. *I meant Xmas, Easter and Whitsun, not just the Xmas holidays. *loosely