Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht is spiritual leader of Beth Israel Chabad of Westport/Norwalk, CT
There is something very special about the Jewish calendar year. Especially its beginning.
The Jewish New Year 5784, that celebrates the Creation of the Universe, begins this Sabbath, and continues through Sunday at nightfall.
Jewish People throughout the world, residing on every continent, observe with dedication the first two-days of the year as being Rosh Hashanah. In Israel too. Rosh Hashanah is observed as being a two-day observance. So, it has been for thousands of years and will continue to be so until the Messiah arrives.
Thus, Rosh Hashanah is referred to as being a Yoma Ariktha - a long day, i.e., a forty-eight-hour observance, for Rosh Hashanah is observed for two days.
The Sages inform us that “Lo Adieu Rosh.” That the first day of the Jewish New Year never begins on a Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday. (Tur: Shulchan Aruch- Orech Chaim: 428). Why this is, for another time, so as not to complicate the message.
The three Hebrew letters of Aleph, Dalet, Vov, when pronounced as a word, is very much similar in sound, to the French word “Adieu” that translates as goodbye.
It is providential indeed that the Rosh Hashanah holiday and the days up to Yom Kippur are not a time to dwell on saying goodbye to the old year, on the past, on history alone, but a time to dwell on the New Year and the potential for new accomplishments and attainment in the coming year, and to do so with joy and happiness.
Rosh Hashanah is the general commitment of accepting the Sovereignty of Al-might G-D with renewed energy and vitality - the new life afforded to us, with the advent of the New Year.
Indeed, let us not dwell on the past year alone, as the statement of our Sages says it all. “Lo Adieu Rosh” - Rosh Hashanah is a time not for goodbye but rather looking forward.
The rectifications required and repair of the past misdeeds are in the days of repentance that conclude with Yom Kippur.
This is the time to be looking forward and acting positive by accepting with new energy and commitment the observance of the Torah and Mitzvah commandments, and committing ourselves to our Peoplehood, that enables us to repair the world and to contribute to the tikkun olam that is needed. So, within the last days of the old year – we bid you adieu, au revoir – farewell and goodbye.
May the blessings of the New Year 5784 begin for a good and sweet year for all of Israel and humanity, Amen.