A Day To Remember To Sing!
Short essays on festivals, the weekly parsha and other articles.
29th September 2016 | 26th Elul, 5776
When I became engaged to my late wife Elana a”h, life seemed like a wondrous dream. Everything was just so perfect. We used to keep on quoting a verse from Psalms, ‘I will sing to God because He has bestowed such goodness upon me’. Unfortunately, time and the challenges of life and marriage dulled that sense of joy. The next time I thought about this phrase was 12 years later as Elana lay dying. I remembered how that was our special verse and I asked myself whether I had ‘sung to God’ enough during our marriage and I realised that I had not. I am eternally grateful to God that He blessed Elana with another few weeks of life to make sure that we could sing together again. And sing we did.
These words occur to me every now and then and each time I ask myself if I sing enough – and each time I find myself lacking. I have a most amazing wife, eight beautiful children, stable times to live in, incredible friends, meaning, opportunity…. You name it, I have it. But how much do I sing?
Rosh Hashana is a day to look inside and evaluate our lives and our direction. Where are we going and are we using our short amount of time on this earth properly? One of the many things I learned from my wife’s passing was that life is very, very short. Too short to waste fighting with those we love and those who love us. Too short to waste worrying about what others think of me. Too short to waste feeling anxious about a tomorrow that may not come anyway – ruining the definite of the now because of the maybe of the future. And too short to waste feeling tense about our myriad responsibilities that are massively inflated by our own sense of self-importance.
Life is good; so good. There is so much to sing about – once we have forgotten the pettiness of the things that frustrate us; once we have forgotten to worry how much money is in the bank; once we have forgotten the way those we love have acted and remembered instead just how much they matter to us; once we have forgotten to be concerned about what happened yesterday or what is going to happen tomorrow.
Rosh Hashana is the day we Jews remember to sing again. A day on which we remind ourselves that life is precious – way too precious for us to take another year for granted; that every moment is a gift. So sing this Rosh Hashana and keep singing for the rest of the year. No matter how challenging life may seem, everything looks different when you remember to sing.