Pessah cleaning at Western Wall.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The High Holy Day season is a time for contemplation and introspection.
We think about what aspects of our lives we hope to change in the New Year and anticipate what we would like to achieve with this fresh start. We also turn to God to ask for His assistance in attaining our goals during the next year.
The fact that our traditional prayers are written in the plural clearly signifies that this is also the time for soul-searching on a national level. As I reflect upon our magnificent country and the fact that our judgment for the coming year is to be sealed in the hours ahead on Yom Kippur, I turn to God and ask for His assistance to make things better and help us correct that which is flawed in our society and our region.
Please God: Let this be a year in which religion becomes a basis for dialogue and improving the world instead of it being a source of tension and war.
Please God: In this New Year inspire our spiritual leaders to act out of a sincere desire to uplift their people instead of desiring power which they can abuse for personal gain and pleasure. In addition, let this be the year when spiritual leaders seek solutions to ease the pain and difficulties in the lives of our people instead of making things more difficult for them.
Please God: Motivate spiritual leaders to realize that religious coercion doesn’t work and actually pushes the masses away from religious observance.
Please God: Let this be a year in which schools successfully teach real life skills and values including respecting others regardless of skin color.
Please God: Let this be a year in which people learn to accept and not to humiliate those who conduct their private lives differently from the mainstream.
Let this be a year in which there is complete equality and respect for both genders.
Please God: Let this be a year in which we learn to be responsible caretakers of the beautiful world which You created.
May our leaders acknowledge that the sun which You provided is the ideal source for clean and renewable energy.
May we, as a people, understand that it is our obligation to stop abusing all the living creatures you created and treat them with care.
Please God: Let this be the year in which people learn to concentrate exclusively on their driving while on the road behind the wheel thereby saving innocent lives that would be needlessly sacrificed due to traffic accidents.
Please God: Let this be the year in which humans realize that extremism doesn’t work and that the only way to make progress on any issue is through dialogue, compromise, and understanding.
Please God: Let this be a year in which our political leaders recognize that they were elected to actually lead bravely and to attempt to make their country and the world a better place and not for them to simply enjoy the glory, honor, and personal gain which such positions offer.
Please God: Let this be the year in which we are finally inspired to recognize that all of Your teachings point to the conclusion that unity and internal harmony are the keys to our achieving peace with our enemies and, ultimately, national redemption.
And let us all say “Amen.”
The author served as a member of the 19th Knesset with Yesh Atid. He serves as the party’s director of Anglo and Diaspora Affairs.
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