I was reading Gwyneth Paltrow’s weekly newsletter GOOP this morning and I was reminded of what it really means to celebrate Rosh Hashannah; the Jewish new year. Not having a lot of family nearby, this holiday doesn’t have as much significance in my current life as it did when I was younger. But every year at this time, I eat apples and honey in the hope of sweetening the year ahead, and I tell my ‘peoples’ Shana Tova and then we fast on Yom Kippur and it’s all done again. Pressure’s off for another year!
Anyway, so like I said – I was reading GOOP this morning and Gwyneth had a man named Michael Berg, a Jewish scholar/author, contribute to her newsletter. His words so profoundly affected me that I’ve been sending his message to all my friends, Jewish or not, encouraging them to read his beautiful message as it pertains to everyone, and carries so much weight and value. I suppose I’m getting a little evangelical, but it is the new year, so indulge me!
Below is the text, taken directly from GOOP. I hope it inspires you in the same way it did for me, and that your new year, your next year (Jewish, personal, fiscal or whatever!) is restrengthened and renewed, and blissfully happy. I hope that the seeds you plant for the next chapters in your life grow and flourish and become exactly what they are supposed to be.
From Michael Berg:
“Rosh Hashanah is an important time of the year; there are blessings available to every person during this time. It is the beginning of the lunar calendar year, and is therefore called the “head” (Rosh) or beginning of the Year (Hashanah). The Kabbalists also call this time the seed of the coming year. We know that the seed of a tree, even before it is planted, holds within it all the potential that the tree will become. It will take time even after the seed is planted for the tree to manifest its complete growth and potential. Nevertheless, the seed that was planted already determines much of what will grow and happen next. If you plant an apple seed, no matter what you do afterwards, you will not be able to grow an orange tree. This is what occurs on Rosh Hashanah; we are creating and planting the seeds for the coming year. We want to have a year filled with great blessings and happiness so we take the opportunity through our thoughts and actions now to draw all of the energy that we will manifest later. Everything that we do on the days of Rosh Hashanah (this Thursday and Friday) is meant to assist us in planting the right and best seeds for the blessings that we want and will need in the coming year.
Another beautiful teaching is that on this day everything is renewed. One of the greatest sources of unhappiness is that everything ages and becomes old. Usually we are more excited and in love in the beginning of a relationship than 10 years into the marriage. Many of the gifts that come into our lives are exciting and fulfilling in the beginning, but then they become old. Even if we still appreciate them, it is not usually with the same joy and vigor as in the beginning. But it does not have to be so. We can and are meant to renew ourselves, our relationships, our lives, and our blessings at least once a year. One of the gifts available to us on Rosh Hashanah is the ability to draw the energy of renewal to the important areas of our life. Think about the areas of your life that have become old, and blessings that you want to fulfill with the energy of renewal. Through this consciousness you draw the energy of newness into every area of your life.
There are many tools that we can use during the two days of Rosh Hashanah but there are two important connections that we can all make. The first is to take time during these two days and think about our past year, the good, the better, and the not so good. Then ask yourself, “What do I want to change from last year?”, “what do I want to make better?” Also, “what blessings do we want to draw for ourselves and our family in the next year?” The supernal gates open up during these two days and by opening ourselves up to the flow of light and energy from above we can receive endless blessings.
The second important connection is how we think and behave during Rosh Hashanah. If we desire to connect to the supernal energy that is revealed we should behave like the supernal light. We should act in only ways of sharing, forgiveness and care. No anger, no doubt, no jealousy, no sadness, at least for these two days. How we are during these two days will influence the next 363.
May we all be blessed with a wonderful new year and endless blessings for ourselves our families and the world. Shanah Tova.”
Michael Berg is a Kabbalah scholar and author. He is the co-Director of The Kabbalah Centre. You can follow Michael on twitter, twitter.com/michael_berg_.