Another Perspective

Year Out, Year In

A few personal reflections on Rosh Hashanah.

By 9.14.07

Send to Kindle

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is celebrated this annum on Thursday and Friday, September 13 and 14. The Bible itself is cryptic about the nature of the holiday, saying only that it should be a "day of trumpeting" and a time of "remembering the trumpets." This is taken by the tradition to indicate that the act of blowing a trumpet (a ram's horn, hollowed out to a thin shell, is used to produce an awe-inspiring sound) to celebrate the coming year should be undertaken alongside a process of reflection, a "remembering" of the twelve months gone past.

Additionally, this moral inventory is recommended by Jews to all mankind. Unlike other holidays focused on more parochial events, this day is said to commemorate the creation of mankind itself. Adam and Eve are believed to have emerged as the first intelligent humans on this day. Each year we return on that anniversary to reassess the progress we have made toward the aims assigned to humanity as a whole.

I am not smart enough to review all the public affairs of this period and pass judgments, complete with recommendations. But I can take a long hard look at myself, get a handle on how well I have kept the promise of yesteryear.

Time management is something I struggled with as a younger chap. Somehow tasks to which I assigned an hour of schedule time tended to blossom into half-day affairs. A lot of time was spent in advance, pondering, pondering, daydreaming, pondering, snacking, pondering... hey, Cheney is on Rush, I need to catch that... pondering, going out to lunch, pondering, snoozing, then getting the job done with a self-satisfied burp to punctuate the achievement. This past year I have really gotten into a great rhythm where time consigned is time employed. Let's try to keep that up next time around as well.

Calling my Dad is an area where I had gotten weak over time. I'm a big boy now, I thought, gotta cut the umbilical cord. These last two years or so I have finally crossed that hump and realized that I am 49 and he is 76 and no one is threatening anyone's maturity or undermining everyone's sovereignty. Every Saturday night, before the onset of whatever frivolity overtakes the weary writer at play, I make that call, relaxed, respectful, not watching the clock, listening, hearing him out, commenting, sharing ideas. Turns out he is a pretty smart guy: who knew?

The other part of Harry Chapin's "Cats in the Cradle" used to apply to me as well. I tended to be inexcusably remiss in the area of keeping up with my kids, letting them slip out of mind almost as much as they are out of sight. My married daughter, mother to my three grandkids, lived in Israel, and the thought of all that distance made me too dizzy to pick up the phone much. Now she has moved to Toronto and suddenly she and I are burning up the lines again. Gotta keep that up, too. My son, the 27-year-old student and artist living in New Jersey, was often overlooked in my busy life as well. Last year we collaborated on some political cartoons, my gags and his art, and now we have free mutual cell phoning on Sprint.

So... the Brooklyn Dodgers were famous for disappointing everyone and then promising "Wait 'til next year." I used to do a lot of that myself, but thankfully, less of that each year. How about you and me get together and resolve to stand tall this year and try to be equal to our obligations, as equal as the human condition allows?

Happy New Year.

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author

Jay D. Homnick, commentator and humorist, is a frequent contributor to The American Spectator.