Our youngest child started kindergarten. It is a special feeling to have a “last first.”
As tradition, we read the book, The Night Before Kindergarten. When we turned the page illustrated with crying parents, Henry paused our reading. He said, “They’re crying because the parents are sad that the kids aren’t babies anymore.”
I wondered if my five year old’s assessment was correct. When we cry watching our children grow, be it starting kindergarten or graduating from high school, do tears represent a longing for the past? Or an excitement for what will come? Clearly, both emotions are intermingled as with any beginning, there is a solemn recognition of something coming to an end. And a sense of trepidation wondering what the future will hold.
Rosh Hashana signifies the end of 5781 and beginning of 5782. While many desire to wish this past year away, our tradition advises the opposite. We never wish time away. Each day is viewed as a gift, an opportunity to grow and face a world filled with endless possibility. The Psalmist reminds us, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” The heart expands as we transition from “getting through a year” to finding meaning and hope in the time we are given.
It is a blessing watching my youngest child grow. The tears may fall as the baby years begin to wean, but each ending means a new beginning is ours to cherish. Thank God for the time we have been given. Thank God for each memory we will be blessed to create.
May it be a new year filled with recognition of yesterday, appreciation for today and gratitude for tomorrow. Amen
Shabbat Shalom and Shana Tovah
In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.