Rabbi Dr. Irwin Wiener
It was approximately 2,500 years ago that a Prophet of Israel roamed the countryside preaching about the goodness of humanity and how it could be found in each of us. In fact, he emphasized that the most enduring force known to man was the power of our ability to conquer the wrongdoing we witness every day.
There are many ways we can accomplish what was suggested so long ago. For example, supporting institutions that give others the ability to survive and even carry themselves with dignity. Every day, we witness the poverty and misery of those less fortunate. And there are those among us who were more independent but somehow woke one day to the progress of time.
It is not enough to acknowledge the problems. We are obligated, as partners with God, to ensure that the tear in our society is repaired to the best of our ability. Each tear in the fabric of our existence should bring us closer to understanding our place in the journey we are embarked upon. Age should not be a deterrent to reaching out to lend a helping hand. Rather, it should encourage us to do more because we have been there and have seen the results of indifference. We are nothing without purpose, and only when we lift a person who has fallen, can we with pride declare who we are and truly comprehend the connection of Heaven and Earth.
This time of the year enables us to recollect as well as plan for tomorrow. There is the custom of New Year’s resolutions – a wish list of things yet to be accomplished and with good intentions attached. But it shouldn’t end there. The act of making a wish should be connected to the action necessary to see them completed. Some will falter, and some will see their dreams come true. There is no shame in failing but, rather, in not making an honest attempt. That is the beauty of trying and our responsibility as God’s children.
God does not expect us to succeed in everything we undertake, but is disappointed when we do not attempt to improve our lives. The special ingredient in any attempt at connection with God and receiving the salvation we all so desperately need is a thing called forgiveness. Forgiveness gives us the ability to heal from wounds that have been inflicted. More importantly, forgiveness is a sign of positive self-esteem.
All these things are why a special time is set aside and designated for new beginnings.
We forgive, but never forget. For it is through forgiving that we remain a blessing, and it is remembering that should help us refrain from repeating our mistakes.
May all of our New Year’s be fulfilling and rewarding.