We're up for a very exciting week, including the Kids Challah Bake (click here for more info), and Rosh Hashanah. As we get ready for the Jewish new year, which begins on Wednesday evening and continues until Friday evening (click here for the schedule of services - I'm looking forward to seeing you!), I'd like to spend a few moments talking about how Rosh Hashanah can really mean something to us this year.

You see, Rosh Hashanah is not as much about rituals as it is about putting on new glasses and viewing the world in an entirely fresh, new way.

Although Rosh Hashanah has many Mitzvot and customs associated with it, from blowing the Shofar (the main Mitzvah of the day) to dipping apples in honey, to enjoying High Holiday services at Chabad (maybe that's the main Mitzvah!), the end result is meant to be not only sitting through services, performing the Mitzvot of the day and ushering in a brand new year, but more importantly, brand new people.

It's about rejuvenating our sense of self and purpose, and getting back in touch with our spiritual side - our Neshama. It's about simply stopping for a few hours, taking a step back and thinking - simply thinking. Thinking about the creator of the world and his endless love for every individual. Thinking about how every moment is a precious opportunity to add another ray of light in our world. Thinking about how limited is our time on this earth, yet how limitless is the potential of the good things we can accomplish.

There's an old Chassidic saying that we should try to view the world from a standpoint where 'God's presence is obvious, and the happenings of the world are a bit alien'. 

This doesn't mean living in a bunker with a prayer book. What it does mean is that at every opportunity that arises during the coming year, we should look for the the divine spark embedded within it. Try and find a way to turn every occurrence into a change for the better. That small, omnipresent voice in our minds telling us that it's all happenstance, there is no purpose and there is no divine, that self-gratification is all there is to life - that should feel a bit alien after Rosh Hashanah.

As we approach the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, let's remember that Judaism is not a burden, but a gift. A gift of purpose and positivity, a gift of joy and meaning. As we settle into our seats at the start of the Rosh Hashanah services next week, wherever you may be, let's remember one thing: how lucky am I to be here.

Rabbi Avrohom