Some time after Passover, I start to make my mental “summer list.” As the academic year winds down, I become aware of all the things I want to do – or wanted to do but didn’t–in the quieter weeks of summer. Populating a summer “to do” list helps me make peace with the limits of time during the rest of the year.
This year has been a whirlwind of change and challenge. Looking forward to a quieter time is a natural response. We all need that break amid the busyness of everyday life. Shabbat is symbolic of that; within a week of work, tradition carves out a day away from the hustle and bustle, when we are intended to rest, reflect, and refresh.
Another Jewish cycle reflects the balance between busy and quiet, fullness and absence. Each lunar month, we mark the cycle of the moon with Rosh Chodesh – the new month. This new beginning does not begin in the brightness of light, a full moon. Our new moon, instead, begins in the tranquility of darkness; the moon and her reflected light are completely hidden at this point in the cycle when the dark is at its deepest. The new beginning begins before the dawn.
As Rosh Chodesh approaches, we express our hopes for the new month:
May the new month bring us goodness and blessing
May we have long life, peace, and prosperity
A life exalted by love of Torah and reverence for the divine
A life in which the longings of our hearts are fulfilled for good
In the quiet moments of the summer, may we all be renewed. And
may the coming year bring us prosperity, holiness, and peace.
Rabbi Debra Dressler