Our father our king Bring an end to pestilence, war, and famine around us / Our father our king, Bring an end to all trouble and oppression around us. From the ritual prayer Avinu Malkeinu.
Dear Friends, dear Partners,
It is our great pleasure to share with you as we do every year the thoughts always renewed of Rav Adin Steinsaltz (Even Israel) on the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana).
We hope that they will help you to better prepare yourself for this upcoming year and that they will enrich you as they are enriching us.
This year is a special one for us since Rav Adin, as we call him among us, is celebrating his 80th birthday. May G-d allow him longs years of wealth, study and creativity. His inspiring teachings have guided us in our activities and we need his counsels to better do what we try to achieve.
May you all be blessed with a happy, peaceful, healthy and prosperous new year.
Joëlle & Gad
Hayom Harat Olam
Greetings for Rosh HaShana 5778 by Rabbi Adin Even Israel Steinsaltz
In the Rosh HaShanah prayers there is one sentence that speaks about the central theme of the day: hayom harat olam, which may be roughly translated as “today is the world’s pregnancy,” in the sense of “inception.” In Modern Hebrew, the word olam means “world,” but in Biblical Hebrew it refers not to space, the universe or the galaxy, but rather to time. The meaning of the expression hayom harat olam, then, is that it is the time of the ‘birth,’ the creation of time. At the beginning of each year the Almighty not only adds another unit of time: rather, a new creation takes place, new time is born. A new year, then, is not just a certain number of days and hours: it is a totally new entity which is created on Rosh HaShana.
But what does all this new-year-new-entity business have to do with us? What are we supposed to do on Rosh HaShanah, the day in which the new year is being created?
As said above, harat olam means a state of pregnancy; and as we all know, at the end of a pregnancy a baby is born. Usually the newborn is good and fine looking; but sometimes a monster is born. So too we can say about certain years that they were good ones; but there have also been some awful years, years that were monstrous from the very start, and in every possible way. Yet we can influence and change that. Thanks to, and in virtue of, the soul, that Godly part that the Almighty implanted within us, we have the ability to create and to build, or to destroy, an entire world, both in theory and in practice.
We therefore ought to do whatever we can to make the world a better place, so that after 5777 years it will be possible to say that we have indeed made some progress. Each one of us has been given a plot of land, a share of reality, to cultivate, some smaller and others bigger. We do not have to wait to the end of the year In order for God to say: “this year, the crops were especially good”; if we work well, we may attain this even before the end of the year. And in the two days of Rosh HaShana, let us make the new year a little brighter and more beautiful.
With best wishes for a good and sweet year in body and spirit,
Adin Even Israel Steinsaltz