Forget logistics for a minute. No one cares what you’re eating at break fast or what materials your sukkah is made out of. You will not remember a year from now what anybody wore to services and, even if you do, you will certainly have forgotten in five years. The logistics are too easy and too impermanent.
What matters now, most of all, are your actions, your relationships and your perspectives.
As we go through the cycle of the year, with Rosh Hashanah last week, Yom Kippur this week and Sukkot/Shimini Atzeret/Simchat Torah in the week that follows, we cycle through the same worries and concerns year after year. I just looked back at all my columns that mentioned Yom Kippur — dating to 2013 — and over and over again I’ve answered questions about parenting during the holidays, ticket prices, missing school and what to serve at meals. I could answer a hundred more questions like that, and they’d keep coming.
Maybe it’s too scary to say out loud, or too vulnerable to ask someone else to answer in writing, but I hope you are asking yourself the truly hard questions that these holy days invite us to ask.
How can I be kinder to myself and the people around me? How can my actions, my money, my decisions more positively impact my family, my community, my city, my country, the environment? What can I do now so that a year from now I’ll know I’ve grown as a person? How do I envision my future, and how can I get there?
Whatever journey you go on through the High Holidays, whether you spend this time with others or alone, you are the only person who can answer these questions. Whether it’s in synagogue, in a sukkah or simply going about your daily routines, I hope you’ll find the time and space to honor where you’ve been and set intentions for where you’re going.
G’mar chatimah tovah, may you be sealed for a good year,