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Sunday, 16 September 2012

On the cusp of the New Year


As I move this evening into the New Year, 5773 in that ancient poetic tradition of the Jewish people, I think of the names this day of Rosh Hashanah has accrued to itself over the generations.

Yom Ha-Zikkaron – the Day of Remembering, the day we look back at the year now vanishing, moment by moment, along with our lives, and we recall what we have done and what we have failed to do, what has been significant and what has passed away apparently without trace – though do we not intuit that ‘significance’ is subjective, and deeply so, and that we may have no real perspective from which to view what has really mattered in all we have done, for good or ill.

Yom Teruah – the Day of Calling, the day we blow the shofar, eliding time, taking us back to mythic Sinai, taking us forward to the end of time when tradition says the shofar will again be heard - and we will finally be released from the burden and blessing of eternal Jewish hopefulness.

Yom Ha-Din – the Day of Judgement, about which no more need be said than Kafka’s unsurpassable words: ‘Only our concept of Time makes it possible for us to speak of the Day of Judgement by that name; in reality it is a summary court in perpetual session.’

May this be a year of peace.

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