Well, how was it?
Was your RH different this year than last?
Should the holidays be the same each year or different? Justify your answer in 20 words or less.
All tongue-in-cheekiness aside, seriously - why go through this routine again? Moreover, what are you going to say to an 18-year-old who asks you, "Why should I care?"
Isn't it true that most of us are emotionally driven?
I'll give you an example.
This week, for the first time I ran something we called "The Concise Traditional Rosh Hashana Service". We wanted something that had a lot of tradition, but that was simultaneously exceedingly user-friendly. That means we kept the pace up, did not drag on for hours and hours, had a kiddish in the middle, and lots of pauses to explain what's going on and how to enjoy the next part of the service.
On the traditional side, we wanted to make sure the environment was conducive to intense meditation and not socializing or distractions. Therefore we kept a symbolic (but not opaque or overbearing) separation between men and women. This set-up allowed husbands and wives to see each other (and sit practically beside each other) but not get distracted by each other.
Most of the participants were not used to this kind of service or set-up. Yet the proof was in the pudding - everyone came back for the second day.
But get this - I know of at least one woman who would not attend because she heard that women and men would be sitting separately. This is inherently an emotional reaction. There was nothing "unequal" about the service (unless you think that my being male and leading made it unequal). But she, in my opinion, missed out on what could have been uplifting for her and her family, for emotional reasons.
There is nothing wrong with emotion-based decisions. But they don't tend to lead us to greater success. In fact, success, whether in the market or in my job or in my personal life, is correlated to using my reason. Emotions should inform my reason, but not guide it.
At the same time, this anecdote teaches us how to help young people connect Jewishly - make sure they enjoy it.
If you did not see my attempt on Monday to find some some mental and emotional spiritual meaning in the current business news, you can still read it online here
There you will also see film #3 – or you can click here.
...and please send your feedback.
In the meantime, what’s the best way to transition from RH to YK? How can we connect the two holidays in a meaningful way?
In my opinion it comes down to two things:
1. An ideal RH gives us clarity on the kind of life we want to start leading this new year
2. An ideal YK helps us grow spiritually in order to start leading that life.
For most of us, #2 requires getting rid of some egoism and increasing altruism.
Therefore, this transition time is a time to start giving.
It’s a great, unifying project for the family, to sit down together and decide where to give.
Bottom-line: buck the trend – stop worrying so much about our own assets and focus on helping those who are really suffering.
Here’s a link to my Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur posts from last year, which includes some amazing films and some recommended charities: