Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Rosh Hashanah - 5772

THE LESSON OF A GREETING CARD

    The traditional Shana Tova card that arrives in the mail is often adorned with an image of a slice of apple glazed with honey as it is being extracted from a glass jar.

    For some it might be a bit surprising that the period of the Yamim Noraim - the Days of Awe - are associated with the sweet, thick sugary solution made by bees.  Since tradition teaches that Rosh HaShannah is the "day of judgment” when books of account are opened and the fate of all beings is recorded, why do we not place a more dreadful image on our greeting cards?

    The lesson is a simple one.  Despite the significance of the season and our understanding that we have a great task and responsibility during theAseret Yemei Teshuva –The Days of Repentance- we must be optimistic that all will be good.  The Midrash notes that when the nations of the world are judged, they wear black.  But the Jewish nation – coming in judgment before its Creator – wears white, as a sign of faith and confidence that the Heavenly Father, in his abundant mercy, will bless us with a good and favorable judgment.

    The spirit of optimism is an integral part of Judaism.  We continually believe that the future will be good, and even in the darkest of times, remove gloom and doom from our thinking.

    We are mindful of the challenges that we face as a nation.  During our prayers all of us should have in mind the security of Israel, and we should beseech Hashem that He grants ample wisdom to its leaders.  At the same time we must be thankful for the gift of a Jewish state and believe wholeheartedly that better days lie ahead.

    I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a year of happiness, health and spiritual growth.

    Shana Tova