New Year's Resolutions That Will Last

Friday, 31 December, 2010 - 4:19 pm

There is a stark contrast in traditions of observance between the Jewish and secular New Years. Rosh Hashanah is regarded as a rather serious time tempered by joy, as we anticipate the unknown year to come with hope and positive determination to make it a good one. The secular new year's celebration is untempered partying, secure in the knowledge that the upcoming year will be a good one... just because.

While the differences are numerous, there is one similarity. New Year's resolutions. It has long been a Rosh Hashanah custom to resolve to strengthen a particular area of Jewish commitment. It is also popular to make a New Year's resolution before January 1.

The most common types of resolutions revolve around eating habits, fitness habits and spending habits. Interestingly these are all areas of life that are only somewhat in our control. Our health and financial situations depend on the blessings from Above. Of course we must do our part to generate the proper vessel in which to receive G-d's blessings - which includes proper habits in those areas. But we still recognize that healthy eating and excersize, while helpful, do not assure us of good health. The same is true with regard to finances.

The one area of life that Hashem leaves up to us, is our adherence to the ways of the Torah and Mitzvot. It is our choice to follow the traditons of our Torah or to ignore them. Our level of Jewish commitment is entirely up to us. Ignorance is not an excuse - as we can decide to study and become more knowledgable. Let us not limit our resolutions for 2011 to the usual. Let us also include the resolutions for something whose value is infinite and is there for the taking.

May I suggest a resolution that can actually be kept on January 1. I propose that people commit to increasing their Shul attendance by twice a month. This can apply to everyone at whatever level their current Shul going measures. Hopefully the more one goes, the more one will like it and this can exponentially expand the positive Jewish experience.  

Wishing you an enjoyable and safe New Year's weekend anchored by a good Shabbat.

Comments on: New Year's Resolutions That Will Last

Andie wrote...

This piece was cognet, well-written, and pithy.