Rabbi Sessler D’var Torah

One Day, Four Different Names

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, has three additional spiritual “nicknames”: ‘Yom Truah’ (a ‘Day of Cheering’, alluding to the shofar blasts), ‘Yom Hazikaron‘ (a ‘Day of Recollection’, during which the Almighty scrutinizes all the deeds and occurrences of the previous year), and ‘Yom Hadin’ (a ‘Day of Cosmic Judgment’).

From a human perspective, the concept of ‘Yom Truah’ also captures the festive and joyful spirit of Rosh Hashanah, as a day and time during which we sit around the dinner table with family, friends and loved ones, and enjoy each other’s company with various delicacies (especially if you’re eating in Metin Samrano’s house).

Yom Hazikaron, from a human perspective, intimates the spiritual opportunity that Rosh Hashnaha affords us, to rewind and replay in our consciousness the main highlights of the previous year, and what we have personally done during the last twelve months.

Yom Hadin, the Day of Judgment, intimates our opportunity to embark upon a more comprehensive and extensive assessment of what we have done so far with the gift of life since we became independent and thinking adults. This aspect of Rosh Hashnah is about whether we are pursuing a good and worthy path at this point of our existence, or whether we need to re-calibrate, and switch our destination address within our internal GPS/internal navigation system.

Lastly, the word Shannah (year) represents in Hebrew both the cyclical aspect of existence; the fact that the seasons and the months constantly repeat themselves (Shannnah from the Hebrew term’חוזר ונשנה’ ), but also –  that the word shannah is also correlated to the Hebrew word Shinooy (change). In other words, how do we integrate and facilitate lasting and durable change for the good, within the cyclical and repetitive inner rhythms of life.

May our Rosh Hashanah include all these different spiritual prisms: the jubilation and the joy, the contemplation and the introspection, the soul-searching and the personal accountability before G-d, and finally – the proactive opportunity to grow and change for the better. Can’t wait to celebrate with you. Wishing us all a year of health, love, growth on all levels, and success in every worthy endeavor.

Shabbat Shalom and Shannah Tovah,

Tal, Nina, Eliana and Noa Sessler

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