Wishing all of you a good, sweet New Year on this Rosh Hashanah 5772. We dipped crisp, sweet Honeycrisp apples in local Washington honey tonight and welcomed the new year, which we hope will be as sweet and delicious as those apples. We enjoyed my wife’s succulent brisket, based on the Nach Waxman recipe in the The New Basics Cookbook. Dessert was a chocolate framboise torte from genius pastry chef, Carolyn Ferguson, owner of Belle’s Epicurean.
We missed Gede, who joined us for Rosh Hashanah dinner every year for the past eleven. She wasn’t there to wag her tail at each new guest’s arrival, nor to spend her time under the table lapping up the scraps. To my regret, I never thought to drink a toast to her. We’ll rectify that come Thanksgiving.
Tomorrow, in shul we will enter into a cheshbon nefesh (“spiritual accounting”) about our year and consider the choices we made and their results. A delicate operation for so many of us. So much to consider: what mistakes did we make? And oh, the regrets. Always regrets. What could we have done better or differently? What did we do right?
And there is the tension of davening in a Jewish community some of whose spiritual and moral values may be quite different than your own. There is always that delicate dance between individual conscience and compromising for the sake of participating in community, albeit an imperfect one.
If only some politicians and countries would do a little cheshbon nefesh of their own! Ah, but that’s another topic. Let’s save it for another day.