At sundown tonight, Jewish people around the world will observe Rosh Hashana, the New Year and the beginning of the High Holiday season. We don’t celebrate our New Year with hats, horns and champagne like the secular one. But we do use this time for introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the New Year.
During these Days of Awe, concluding with Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) the Jewish people embark upon the serious task of examining our lives and repenting for any wrongs we may have committed during the previous year. We are encouraged to make amends with anyone we have wronged and to make plans for improving during the coming year. In this way, Rosh Hashana is all about making peace in the community (and ultimately the world) and striving to be a better person.
Asking for forgiveness is a tough thing to do; it is difficult to admit when you have made a mistake or hurt someone. But making amends and genuinely making the effort to do better next time makes the apology that much easier.
A tradition at Rosh Hashana is to eat apples dipped in honey as a tangible reflection of our desire for a sweet New Year. So today I ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoing I may have done and to wish all of you (whether you observe or not) a sweet and prosperous New Year.