Rosh Hashannah (Day 1)

(כד) דַּבֵּ֛ר אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר בַּחֹ֨דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֜י בְּאֶחָ֣ד לַחֹ֗דֶשׁ יִהְיֶ֤ה לָכֶם֙ שַׁבָּת֔וֹן זִכְר֥וֹן תְּרוּעָ֖ה מִקְרָא־קֹֽדֶשׁ׃

(24) Speak to the Israelite people thus: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe complete rest, a sacred occasion (remembrance) commemorated with loud blasts.

(א) ארבעה ראשי שנים הם.באחד בניסן ראש השנה למלכים ולרגלים.באחד באלול ראש השנה למעשר בהמה.רבי אלעזר ורבי שמעון אומרים, באחד בתשרי .באחד בתשרי ראש השנה לשנים ולשמטין וליובלות, לנטיעה ולירקות.באחד בשבט , ראש השנה לאילן, כדברי בית שמאי.בית הלל אומרים, בחמשה עשר בו.

(1) There are four New Years: On the first of Nisan is the new year for the kings and for the festivals; on the first of Elul is the new year for the tithing of animals; Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Shimon say, in the first of Tishrei. On the first of Tishrei, the new year for years, for the Sabbatical years and for the Jubilee years and for the planting and for the vegetables. On the first of Shevat is the new year for the trees.

ערוך השולחן
ביאורו של היום הרת עולם פ"ה דאדם הראשון נברא ה"בר דבכ ה" באלול היתה התחלת הבריאה והאדם נברא ביום הששי ובו נגמר הריונו של עולם שהאדם הוא תכלית הבריאה

Rosh Hashanah Mussaf service

Today is the conception of the world.

Aruch Hashulchan 592: 6

(from Talmud Rosh Hashanah 11a)

‘Today is the conception of the world’: Adam was created on Rosh Hashanah. The beginning of creation was on the 25th of Elul, and Adam was created on the sixth day

(ו) וַתֵּ֣רֶא הָֽאִשָּׁ֡ה כִּ֣י טוֹב֩ הָעֵ֨ץ לְמַאֲכָ֜ל וְכִ֧י תַֽאֲוָה־ה֣וּא לָעֵינַ֗יִם וְנֶחְמָ֤ד הָעֵץ֙ לְהַשְׂכִּ֔יל וַתִּקַּ֥ח מִפִּרְי֖וֹ וַתֹּאכַ֑ל וַתִּתֵּ֧ן גַּם־לְאִישָׁ֛הּ עִמָּ֖הּ וַיֹּאכַֽל׃ (ז) וַתִּפָּקַ֙חְנָה֙ עֵינֵ֣י שְׁנֵיהֶ֔ם וַיֵּ֣דְע֔וּ כִּ֥י עֵֽירֻמִּ֖ם הֵ֑ם וַֽיִּתְפְּרוּ֙ עֲלֵ֣ה תְאֵנָ֔ה וַיַּעֲשׂ֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם חֲגֹרֹֽת׃ (ח) וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֞וּ אֶת־ק֨וֹל ה' אֱלֹקִ֛ים מִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ בַּגָּ֖ן לְר֣וּחַ הַיּ֑וֹם וַיִּתְחַבֵּ֨א הָֽאָדָ֜ם וְאִשְׁתּ֗וֹ מִפְּנֵי֙ ה' אֱלֹקִ֔ים בְּת֖וֹךְ עֵ֥ץ הַגָּֽן׃ (ט) וַיִּקְרָ֛א ה' אֱלֹקִ֖ים אֶל־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֖וֹ אַיֶּֽכָּה׃ (י) וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֶת־קֹלְךָ֥ שָׁמַ֖עְתִּי בַּגָּ֑ן וָאִירָ֛א כִּֽי־עֵירֹ֥ם אָנֹ֖כִי וָאֵחָבֵֽא׃ (יא) וַיֹּ֕אמֶר מִ֚י הִגִּ֣יד לְךָ֔ כִּ֥י עֵירֹ֖ם אָ֑תָּה הֲמִן־הָעֵ֗ץ אֲשֶׁ֧ר צִוִּיתִ֛יךָ לְבִלְתִּ֥י אֲכָל־מִמֶּ֖נּוּ אָכָֽלְתָּ׃ (יב) וַיֹּ֖אמֶר הָֽאָדָ֑ם הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָתַ֣תָּה עִמָּדִ֔י הִ֛וא נָֽתְנָה־לִּ֥י מִן־הָעֵ֖ץ וָאֹכֵֽל׃ (יג) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר ה' אֱלֹקִ֛ים לָאִשָּׁ֖ה מַה־זֹּ֣את עָשִׂ֑ית וַתֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הָֽאִשָּׁ֔ה הַנָּחָ֥שׁ הִשִּׁיאַ֖נִי וָאֹכֵֽל׃

(6) When the woman saw that the tree...was desirable as a source of wisdom, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate. (7) Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they perceived that they were naked (8) ...and the man and his wife hid from the G-d among the trees of the garden. (9) G-d called out to ha'adam (the man) and said to him, “Where are you?” (10) He replied, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” (11) Then He asked, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat of the tree from which I had forbidden you to eat?” (12) The man said, “The woman You put at my side—she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (13) And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done!” The woman replied, “The serpent duped me, and I ate.”

(ב) בְּאַרְבָּעָה פְרָקִים הָעוֹלָם נִדּוֹן, בְּפֶסַח עַל הַתְּבוּאָה, בַּעֲצֶרֶת עַל פֵּרוֹת הָאִילָן, בְּרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה כָּל בָּאֵי הָעוֹלָם עוֹבְרִין לְפָנָיו כִּבְנֵי מָרוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים לג) הַיּוֹצֵר יַחַד לִבָּם, הַמֵּבִין אֶל כָּל מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם. וּבֶחָג נִדּוֹנִין עַל הַמָּיִם:

(2) At four times the world is judged: On Pesach, for the crops. On Shavuot, for the fruits of the tree. On Rosh Hashanah, all the world passes before G-d like sheep, as it says, "G-d that fashioned the hearts of them all considers all their doings." (Psalms 33:15) And on Sukkot, they are judged for the water.

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, transcribed recording

Everybody knows that on Rosh HaShanah you are standing before G-d, but the question is on what level? We are not being counted on the level of details, we are being counted on the level of "all".

Every person is the combination of two things. Let’s take a girl who is very beautiful, her eyes and ears are beautiful, but this is all details. But then there is something else, the "all" a person is. There might be a person who is very talented in Mathematics but sometimes the all is not talented. A lot of big scientists are talented in everything but the all in them is stupid. Then there is a person who is not only talented in every detail, but the "all" is talented and the all is beautiful. There are a lot of yiddelach who are Jewish in every detail but the all of them is without religion, the all of them. And then there are people who maybe their details are not so religious, but the "all" of them is so beautiful. So in a nutshell, on Yom Kippur we are standing before G-d on the level of details because on Yom Kippur I confess every detail I did wrong, but on Rosh HaShanah I am standing before G-d on the level of my all.

Adam Philips, Missing Out
There is always what will turn out to be the life we led, and the life that accompanied it, the parallel life (or lives) that never actually happened, that we lived in our minds, the wished for life… the risks untaken and the opportunities avoided or unprovided. We refer to them as our unlived lived because somewhere we believe that they were open to us; but for some reason they were not possible. And what was not possible all too easily becomes the story of our lives.

David Brooks, “The Moral Bucket List” NYTimes April 11 2015

There [are] two sets of virtues, the resume virtues and the eulogy virtues/ The resume virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral - whether you were kind, brave, honest, or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?

We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the resume ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.

You figure as long as you are not obviously hurting anybody and people seem to like you, you must be OK. But you live an unconscious boredom, separated from the deepest meaning of life and the highest moral joys. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self.

Rambam, Hilchot Teshuva, 1:3

At present, when the Temple does not exist and there is no altar of atonement, there remains nothing else besides teshuva.

Alan Lew, This Is Real and your are Totally Unprepared, page 157

Teshuva begins with a turn, a turn away from the external world and toward the inner realm of the heart


What is my single more important goal for the coming year? What change do i wish to make immediately in my daily (weekly) schedule? Which person do i want to spent more time with this year and how will I accomplish that goal?
I believe that the first small step I could make in order to gain more agency, and make some changes this year would be to ______.
One think i constantly procrastinate about it ______. I do not take care of it because of ______. What would help me get to it sooner would be if I _______.

Dr. Allan Wheelis, "Will and Psychoanalysis" Journal of Psychoanalytic

Some persons can proceed untroubled by proceeding blindly, believing they have traveled the main highway and that all the intersections have been with byways. But to proceed with awareness and imagination is to be affected by the crossroads, which one will never encounter again. Some persons sit at the crossroads, taking neither path because they cannot take both, cherishing the illusion that if they sit there long enough the two ways will resolve themselves into one and hence both be possible. A large part of maturity and courage is the ability to make such renunciations, and a large part of wisdom is the ability to find ways which will enable one to renounce as little as possible.

Rambam (1138-1204) Hilchot Teshuva 5:1

Free will is granted to all people. If one desires to turn to the path of good and be righteous, the choice is theirs. Should s/he desire to turn to the path of evil and be wicked, the choice it theirs... human beings are singular in the world with no other species like them in the following way: that they can, on their own initiative, with knowledge and thoughts, know good and evil, and do what they desire. There is no one who can prevent them from doing good or bad.


One thing I constantly procrastinate about is_______. I do not take care of it because of _________. What would help me get to it sooner would be if I _________.

Something about myself that I'm not so happy about but that I do no believe will ever change is __________. I do not feel I can ever change that because of ____________. Is my perception really true?

Even though it was very difficult at the time, if I had not gone through _____ and learned from it, then I would not be the person I am today

Alan Lew, The Is Real and You are Completely Unprepared, pg 156

No one does it but us. But we can't do it by ourselves either. The possibility of transformation always exists but we have to consciously turn toward it in order to activate it. At the same time, our initiative can only take us so far. After that we have to have faith. We have to depend on the universe to support the flowering of our intention.

*Thank you to Benji Elson and Dr. Elliot Malamet for inspiration, sources, and exercise ideas. And Beth Tzedec for the opportunity to teach.