For some of us, today is observed as “Yom HaDin” – the day of judgement. That’s a difficult (if not off-putting) concept for many folks to wrap their head around. If it isn’t working for you (honestly, me neither), here’s a thought that’s has always resonated more meaningfully for me.
Rosh Hashana is often mis-perceived as “New Years”. I think we all here can understand why it has nothing to do with party hats, noisemakers, etc.
But it’s also often seen as a highlight reel. A moment to reflect on how the past 12 months shaped up. In work terms, a performance review where you sit down with The Boss and talk about some of the great (and not-so-great) moments from the past year.
I don’t think that’s quite it either.
Rosh Hashana isn’t a job review, it’s a contract re-negotiation. You are sitting before an employer who literally holds all the cards, and laying out what you intend to do for The Company in the coming year. It’s a marketing campaign where the stakes couldn’t be higher. You can’t over-sell yourself, because The Boss has a way of seeing through that kind of b.s. But the common plan to under-promise and over-deliver also won’t work.
For those who take the message of the holiday to heart, this is a moment where we’re literally begging for our life. But that’s pretty strong stuff and I don’t want to scare anyone off from the benefit of this type of reflection.
Whether you buy into the deep religious and spiritual aspects of the chag, Rosh Hashana offers a moment to quietly and sincerely reflect on what each of us brings to the table and ask ourselves, in a moment of absolute candor and honesty,
“Is that the best I can do?
Is that the best I want to do?
If I want to do better, but can’t do it myself, is there someone I can ask to help me achieve my best self?”
And that makes Rosh Hashana a two-fold opportunity.
First to listen to the quiet inner voice telling us we can do better, we can BE better;
and second, to listen for the (equally quiet) external voice of our friends, family, and teammates who might be asking for help.
And when we hear that plea, to reach out and lift them up too.