Not unlike an airplane “gearing down” for a smooth landing, this time of year finds many of us in the middle of summer preparing for all life brings in September and the fall season. Some of us are in the second camp session; college bound are preparing for the new semester; and many of us begin to notice the shortening days.
As Jews, we have even more to consider, to contemplate and find our way to prepare, for not only is the end of summer nearing our horizon, but the end of the year or rather the new year, Rosh Hashanah is within sight. So how do we prepare for a “smooth landing”?
For some, Tisha B’Av is an obscure holiday, and for others it is a stark reminder of devastation for the Jewish people, as we recognize a time that the Second Temple fell, and we mourn the loss over these centuries. Many families of Holocaust victims recognize this time as a yahrzeit for their loved ones. But what are we really to do at this time?
Reflection should be directed inward to the trials, tribulations and blessings of the past year. The idea that we begin our descent for the year and approach the new year gives us the opportunity not only to count our blessings, but also to self-grade. We get to determine how we did this year free from judgement of anyone but ourselves.
We also get the opportunity, a true opportunity, to seek forgiveness and establish a new beginning. Our shortcomings are many, but our ability to decide what to about them is limitless. We can change and adapt ourselves and our thinking to pursue life and our dreams in a way to seek happiness, contentment and fulfilment if only we believe we can and if we begin that descent right now.
You see, waiting for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur to be here is not the time to prepare, rather it is the time to execute our vision, the time to confirm to ourselves to Hashem and to the ones we love that we are ready to fill the coming year with enthusiasm, good will and love.
Preparing for this will take effort, and the first steps are the biggest effort. Just as any worthwhile endeavor requires the preparation and decision to take action, the first steps will determine the direction of our future. Of course, we get to make corrections along the way if we pay attention and remind ourselves of our plans and dreams throughout the year.
As this summer winds down, I reflect on being a zayde, watching my grandsons grow and creating memories with them and all the new cousins, nieces and nephews that are part of my growing family that will last a lifetime.
Vito Simone is a Pikesville resident and a member of Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah.