Musings on the Eve of 5768

Another year ends. Time for reflection, for making resolutions, for doing away with last year’s curses and looking forward to next year’s blessings.

But who has time for reflection, let alone making new resolutions? I personally have had such a busy time at work lately and I’m currently losing my mind trying to balance my business travel over the next month (with most holidays being “stuck” in the middle of the week), that taking time off for reflections is a luxury I can ill afford. I am embarassed to say how many times I’ve attended selichot this past month (I belong to those who started repenting on the 2nd of Elul, not two days ago). It looks like Rosh HaShana itself will have to do for my selichot.

But, patur belo klum i efshar, so here are some thoughts as we approach 5768:

  • First, let’s not go into the number 5768. With the dinosaur bones and all those fossils it’s not a good idea. Best to recommend the book Bereshit Bara, by Prof. Nathan Aviezer, for some peace of mind on the subject of reconciliating creationism chronology with science.
  • Next year will be shnat shemitah, the seventh year, where one is supposed to let the land rest and the debts disappear. Alas, all that is left from a beautiful social, economic and environmental idea is the ritual bickering between rabbis about who to give money to to bypass the prohibition of eating fruits and vegetables grown in Israel. That, and a plethora of booklets detailing ad nauseam what one should do with one’s shrubberies in the back garden.
  • A year ago Israel was licking its wounds from the botched war in Lebanon. And as a present for the New Year we got this week a whiff of renewed winds of war. So far it looks like all sides are happy with turning a blind eye to the nightly excursion of our brave pilots over the Syrian sky, but these incidents are exactly how wars get started.
  • A-propos war. After the missile attack last night on an IDF trainee camp near Gaza, what are the headlines on the internet? Get this: “Parents complain: why were soldiers sleeping in non-protected tents?” One has to read this twice to believe it’s not a joke. Does anyone need more proof Israelis have lost the will to fight?
  • Perhaps 5768 will be the year I will finally take that (expensive) speed reading course I’ve read about? I am constantly frustrated at the number of books in my library waiting patiently their turn.
  • No resolutions for the new year. Old age brings with it realism about resolutions that look promisingly achievable when made but then leave nothing but a sour taste of disappointment a year later. Except maybe one: I will try to keep a steady schedule of working out, despite all the travelling. I really will try harder.

Shana Tova to all.

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