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For the New Year 2020

Tue, 12/31/19 - 10:38am


Rabbi Lisa Eiduson

Twenty years ago, on the eve of the year 2000, we had no idea what to expect. There were those who claimed that the world was going to end. There were others who believed that we stood on the threshold of a major social, cultural or religious revolution. And there were many who predicted that all the world’s computers would go crashing down into oblivion and that it would take months or years to restore our systems. There was fear, anticipation, excitement…and a lot of computer back-ups that took place before midnight on December 31, 1999.

And like many other events that we plan and prepare for, nothing happened at all. January 1, 2000 came and went and brought a new millennium that was strikingly like the years that preceded it. We went back to work and school, and we returned to the business of living without much drama or fanfare. Yes, it took awhile to get used to what was called “Y2K,” and it did take practice to properly write the new date on checks. But we managed to adapt, and it wasn’t long before the twentieth century was a fading, distant memory.

I suggest that this is one of the truths of our lives: We never know what to expect. The future is elusive; it changes and shifts as we do. And, as we grow older, we begin to understand that the future, in fact, is now. Right now. We save, we plan, we prepare; we anticipate graduations, retirements, milestones. Yet, how well we know: There are no promises or guarantees. The only thing that is certain is the very moment in which we live.

So, on this eve of a New Year and new decade, I hope that each of you has the chance to spend a few moments living – really living – in the moment. Perhaps surrounded by family or close friends; perhaps listening to your favorite music or reading a fabulous book. Maybe you will be somewhere far away, enjoying new sights, sounds and scenery; or perhaps you are home, relishing familiar surroundings and taking the time to see things that you never noticed before.

The Biblical Psalmist appealed to God: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). The psalmist does not ask for riches, material goods, or even longevity; rather, for the ability to count our days, and in doing so, to realize that each day matters, and each moment counts. Attaining a heart of wisdom is the result of living each day to the fullest and understanding that though we are finite, we have the power to fill our lives and the lives of others with supreme blessings.

May the year 2020 be a blessed one, and may you give and receive blessings from those around you. May our families, our communities, our synagogue, our cities, our country and all humanity move together in pursuing light, wisdom, and peace.

Rabbi Lisa S. Eiduson

Wed, March 22 2023 29 Adar 5783