It’s the New Year celebrations in this part of the world.
Usually a time of reflection and repentance…a time of celebration and awareness…and above all, a time to get together and eat!
As a child I remember the excitement of the Jewish New Year. The table would be set beautifully and candles lit, the room would dance with the reflection. The smell of the traditional dishes that would later be devoured would fill the house and we would wear something new; often a blouse or new skirt, sometimes our new winter shoes. The clothes were always stiff and too warm but I loved the smell of the starchy newness and the excitement that winter was drawing close and the days becoming shorter.
Once everyone had arrived and the food was ready, we would move to the dining room. The blessings were made; the pomegranate that had not yet been eaten this year, the apple dipped in honey that would dribble across the plate, over the table cloth and down your chin, the bread also dipped in honey with the salt left aside until after the holiday.
There was always interesting conversation at the table. My two grandmothers would frown at our brazenness as we often guided the conversation to shock them and make them blush. My parents always loved a lively conversation and my father would reach for a book of reference if he needed to win an argument. Someone would not listen to someone else and then everyone would yell at them and take sides. Usually a stranger at the table would fascinate us with a story of a different country or tradition that we had never heard of before, sometimes it would be a joke or a magic trick.
There were several courses of food during the meal; each more delicious than the last. I don’t ever remember wanting to leave the table. As the youngest, I always wanted to be a part of the conversation, not to miss a word and to be considered to have something interesting to say. Maybe that’s why I started telling stories!
And of course, there is the repentance; asking for forgiveness for mistakes made, pain or offense caused. You see, this is the time when it is decided if we will be written into the book of life for the coming year.
It is a time to take stock of all that has passed throughout the year – to be honest with ourselves about what we have caused and created. A time of reckoning.
It is a time to make peace – to apologize to those we have offended and most importantly, to make peace with ourselves.
As I sit and reflect on the year that has gone by, I am humbled by all that I have experienced. I would imagine we are not unalike, that it has been a mixed bag for you too. Some joy, some pain, some loss and some gain.
Above all I am grateful, so truly grateful for all that was, even it existed simply to help me recognize my limits or learn a valuable lesson.
If I have done anything to offend, bother, or disturb you, I am sorry. And I want to wish you a happy new year – may you have a healthy, joyful and sweet year, filled with love, gratitude, abundance…
…and lots of wonderful stories.
What are you grateful for this year….leave a comment below.