Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman
As the weather grows cooler and the moon gets smaller each night, we turn our attention to Rosh Hashanah. These days call out to us with the promise of change. This is a time to open our hearts. This is a time when we commit to becoming the people we aspire to be. This is a time of expectation, growth, and opportunity.
As the holiday approaches, we stand at a petach. In the Torah, a petach is an opening or an entrance. We are in a liminal space, an in-between place, like a threshold, neither inside nor outside. As we consider the new year to come, and look into the future, we stand in a space of uncertainty and possibility.
This is also a time to review the year that has passed. We ask ourselves difficult questions: Did we align our actions with our values? Did we speak up when it mattered? Were we open-hearted and generous? Did we reach out to others or focus only on our own needs? And if we did not, how might we do better in the year to come?
As we stand at a petach, about to enter into a new year, we stand in a holy space and time. Jewish tradition recognizes this liminal space and time as holy. This is why we place a mezuzah on a doorpost and mark the threshold. It reminds us that many possibilities are before us.
As we join together on Rosh Hashanah, we consider who we are and who we wish to be. We make amends and commit to turning towards our best selves. We embrace what we do not know, and we open our hearts and usher in a new year. May this be a time of growth, renewal, and blessing.
On behalf of Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, I wish the Madison Jewish community a shanah tovah, a new year filled with sweetness. All are welcome to join us for our High Holiday services and programs, both online and in person. Visit us at www.shamayim.org/highholidays to learn more.
Laurie Zimmerman is the Rabbi at Congregation Shaarei Shamayim.