A Truly Happy Year – Rosh Hashanah
What a year it has been. Sadness, anger, rioting, mourning, politics, division, wildfires and more. Oh, yes….and Corona.
To be fair, there have also been weddings, births, promotions and other good things that have happened this year.
Rosh Hashanah is considered the yearly Day of Judgment and we pray that the judgment for the coming year will be favorable based on the good things that we and our ancestors have done.1
I sit here with a sense of awe, confused, trying to write something appropriate for Rosh Hashanah. To write something too forward-looking is to ignore the present reality. To focus only on the difficulties we are enduring is not good for our mental health and ignores the power of prayer. We all want a good year and a happy one. Noone (almost ) wants to suffer.
So, what I came up with is how to keep ourselves on our own path to happiness while dealing with all this uncertainty.
Because of the nature of Rosh Hashana being a day of judgment, there is a natural tendency to judge ourselves as well. Were we good or bad? Will we be deserving of a "good" judgment or not?
Not discounting that, I would like to offer an additional way of taking account of our lives.
LogoParsha has included many ideas about finding meaning in our lives, based on the works of Doctor Viktor Frankl who offered three paths to meaning, which will lead to satisfaction and happiness: "We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering."2
We will discuss all three paths in the coming weeks.
Performing creative acts if filled with meaning helps with our desire to find joy and satisfaction says Doctor Viktor Frankl. This may include, work, art in its different forms, volunteering and perhaps the greatest of creative acts, I believe, is building a family (natural or adopted).
We usually think of our actions as being either good or bad.
But in a certain sense, there is an even worse option than bad:
The prescription is simple. Though it is not always easy to find that kind of creative activity which will fill the prescription, it is important to know it is possible. Without this sounding too simplistic, it does take some work. Some people will find it challenging but, even just knowing that it is possible, helps in our ongoing search to live a meaningful life.
Have a truly happy, wonderful, healthy and meaning-filled year.
Have A Great Shabbat!