I feel a need to follow up on my previous post. While 2012 was in so many ways a year for the record books, I, as a believing Jew, look at Earth’s journey around the sun in another way as well. For our people, there is more than one beginning to the year. Each is fraught with meaning and provides inspiration and guidance in our daily lives.
First and foremost is one (almost) everybody’s heard about: Rosh Hashanah. It heralds the awesome, inspiring holy days on which the slate is wiped clean and we look forward to a year of blessing, health, peace, and whatever else we need and desire. After almost a full month of connecting with the Creator and rejoicing in the goodness bestowed upon us, we return to our regular routine.
For residents of the Northern Hemisphere, that includes watching summer give way to autumn and autumn fade into winter. When the cold season is at its height, and it seems that spring is far, far away, along comes the next new year. Tu Bishvat, the New Year for Trees, is the day when trees in the Land of Israel begin another fruit-bearing cycle. As we commemorate the holiday by eating various types of fruits, there is a feeling of dual celebration: of the Creator’s care for all of His creation, and of the knowledge that spring will arrive in our locales.
At the onset of spring comes Nissan. It’s is the first month on the Jewish calendar, and all succeeding ones are reckoned from it. Passover occurs at this time. At this season of beginnings and positive changes (of our people as a nation dedicated to the ideals of serving the Creator; of going beyond our limitations and reaching new heights; of new animal and plant life), we experience the sensation of making, once again, a new start.
Yes, the twelve months recently concluded were momentous ones. Yet, we have many occasions to begin anew and celebrate the opportunities that the future brings. Isn’t that enough of a reason to rejoice?