Dear Friends of the Moon,
This Tishrei moon is actually one of our FOUR Jewish New Years. You thought eight nights of Hanukkah was a big deal, well, just imagine: we get four new beginnings! According to the Mishnah (1:1 Rosh Hashana), an early collection of Jewish law, we have four New Years:
The month of Tishrei (Sept.-Oct.) celebrates the creation of the world
The month of Shevat (Jan.-Feb.) is when we count the birthday cycle of the trees
The month of Nisan (Mar.-Apr.) marks our historic coming out from Egypt
And the month of Elul (Aug.-Sept.) is when we tithe our animals and anoint our kings.
Tishrei, beginning at sunset on Sept. 9 is about creation: we turn our Jewish calendar and connect with the rebirth of our world, both around us and within us.
Beginnings take courage. In Hebrew the word for courage is ometz - אומץ -sometimes called ometz lev or ometz ruach - אֹמֶץ לֵב or אֹמֶץ רוּחַ - a courageous heart or a courageous spirit. The same is familiar, the new is unknown, and unnatural. To start anew requires strength and courage. What gives me ometz lev אֹמֶץ לֵב a courageous heart is hope. I hope, as many of you know, that this year will be one in which my beloved finds me, I move closer to my heart’s path and my family stay healthy and connected.
Courage for me comes from hope, Tikvah.
Tikvah - תקווה The root of the tikvah is the same root as the word for mikvah, ritual bath, living waters. So, to bolster our spirits, I’ve invited my dear friend, mentor and health wizard, Dr. Petra Caruso, to teach us a hydrating tonic for Tishrei (check it out below!).
As we begin this New Year I join you in the project of mustering courage to begin anew and offer the practice of hope. Not passive hope in a sort of daydream/one day/someday sorta type of hope, but a getter-done, calendar in what matters most, dip into the pool type of hope and commitment to live into what’s possibile from hope.
Rabbi Alyson Solomon