Rosh Hashana Is for One and All

Atmospheric image of Judaism symbols of Rosh Hashana, The Jewish New Year. A Prayer Book, Shophar (Shofar) and Pomegranate
Atmospheric image of Judaism symbols of Rosh Hashana, The Jewish New Year. A Prayer Book, Shophar (Shofar) and Pomegranate

The holiday of Rosh Hashana is the anniversary of the 6th day of creation, the day when man and woman were created. As the birthday of all humanity, it is relevant for people of all faiths. It is a time of reflection on the year behind and prayer for the year ahead.

What are we praying for at this auspicious time? If you could pray for one thing and one thing only, what would it be? In preparation for Rosh Hashana, throughout the entire month leading up to the new year, there is a custom to say a special psalm twice a day that includes the verse "One thing do I ask from God." But rather than identifying what that one thing is, the verse then goes on to list a number of items, which leaves us to wonder what that primary request should be, and why there is this seeming inconsistency in the verse?

The mystics explain that the hebrew verse can be translated as "Oneness do I ask from God." The one thing I truly require is Oneness in my life, and then all of the other necessary things will come as a result. We pray for a synthesis of all the seemingly diverse and fractured parts within us and around us. An end to the occasional battles that we fight with ourselves, with our loved ones, with those we perceive as others and foes. A cessation of conflict and competition. The peace that comes not from either overpowering or surrendering, but from recognizing and manifesting our inclusion in something infinite and eternal.

We are here to proclaim, promote, and project the oneness of it all. That is our one primordial task. The division and dissension in our lives and in our world exist because we have not yet succeeded in that mission. So we pray for One thing. We pray that the Oneness of reality will be realized and revealed.

At this time when there seems to be such divisiveness, violence, and struggle all around us - when left and right seem so partisan and polarized, when terror literally tears people apart, when masses of humanity flee their own brethren and amass at borders begging for refuge - a time such as this is a good opportunity for pause and review.

We check and correct those things that we have done to obscure Oneness until now. We ask for the time, strength, and wisdom to fulfill our purpose going forward, which is to be One and to make Oneness manifest to one and all.

Happy Rosh Hashana. May it be a year of unity and peace ahead.