As we are on the verge of Rosh Hashanah, the Torah reading for this Shabbat has an important message for us:
“See, I set before you this day, life and good, and death and evil…I call heaven and earth to witness against you THIS day, that I have set before you the blessing and the curse; therefore choose Life, that you may Live.”
Moses’ emphasis is upon the Hebrew word Ha-yom, “this day.” Choosing this day between life and death. Valuing this day for the blessings that are ours and for the potential for goodness and fulfillment that is this day.
There are a lot of ways of expressing it, but there is much truth in the observation that most of us could do a better job in living this day. That we live, all too often, by worrying about tomorrow, and regretting yesterday, and trampling upon today.
There is a tradition that we should recite no less than one-hundred blessings each day. And the reason for that: it’s not that our sages believed that God needs to hear our words of praise. Rather, that we need to make ourselves aware of all the good that we have in our lives, that we so often take for granted. Yes, the observant Jew wakes up and the first thing out of his mouth is a prayer expressing gratitude that renewed life has been breathed into him. And then, a series of blessings expressing thanks for gifts of sight and freedom, for the ability to think and reason, a blessing of thanks for the good and beautiful things of this world.
THIS day says Moses…..this is the day for choosing between “life” and “death.” This is the day for choosing between the blessing and the curse.
As we enter upon a new year, may we be blessed to live each day as fully and as richly as we can. To you and the people you love, I wish you a good and sweet and fulfilling new year.