ROSH HASHANAH: and self worth

September 18/Tishrei 1 to September 20 (Tishrei 2)

L’ Shana Tova everyone. May it be a good year for all.

This year of course is different. The Services in the Synagogues are greatly changed or not happening. Many are spending Rosh Hashanah at home, many alone.

I found a place to go hear the Shofar on Sunday and I will do that. I hope to arrive a little early and hear part of the Torah portion and the Rabbi’s talk. It’s my favorite part.

What’s important this year about Rosh Hashanah? How can I make it personally meaningful?

I’ve heard it said that Rosh Hashana represents the birthday of the world, the day that G-d created Adam and Eve, and the head of the Jewish year.

I feel remiss, but I am not going to do a lot of study right now about this. I’ll leave it here with a couple of links for anyone who’d like to follow up on their own.

Instead I will focus on an interpretation I find very inspiring. That is, that as G-d created Adam and Eve and the world, so we can be reborn on this day.

What does that mean for you? What does that mean for me?

This is where I will focus today.

We each have gifts; I am very grateful for mine and I will strive to accept and use them. The bigger, maybe harder part, is being willing to let go of negative narratives. By this I mean, we have all grown up learning from the world, our parents, our schools, friends, etc. I know that many things I have absorbed determine the lens through which I see the world. I have spent a lot of time becoming aware of what has been my unconscious lenses, and then, once I see, letting go of the negative lenses.

I’d like to say I’m done. 🙂

Weeeelll….yeah, not really. I think it’s a lifetime job.

I used to live with a lot of fear. Thankfully and through a lot of work, that fear has whittled down to a little squeak which stays quiet most of the time. When it does pop up, the trust I have developed usually supports me to pass fairly quickly through any fear.

What’s left?

For me it’s the spiraling wheel of self worth. I say spiral because a dear teacher of mine, Shimona Tzukernik taught me that we always come back to our same challenges.  Very important to note though, we are not in the same place when we face those familiar sensitive spots. When we grow, our spiral is not like a hamster wheel retreading the same steps over and over. Instead, the spiral moves upwards and out in more and more expansive ways. As we return to those “low” spots, it is at deeper and richer levels; this in turn spirals us back up to a higher, more joyful place.

SELF WORTH. It seems like it should be such a simple topic. Actually, to my thinking it is. Though a simple concept, it is sometimes difficult to experience.

Here’s my theory and experience. I have spent much of my life looking for my self worth outside of myself. In jobs, appearance, skills, talents, marriage, achievements, people liking me.

Of course this is false. For if you like me today, but not tomorrow, does my self worth disappear? If I play the piano like a virtuoso today, but tomorrow I break my hand and cannot play, does my self worth evaporate?  I don’t mean MY THINKING about my self worth. That often slips and slides under varying conditions. I mean my REAL worth.

My answer is NO. My (and OUR) real worth is firm, substantive, solid, a constant. It does not increase or decrease based on how I perform, what people think of me, how much money I make, etc, etc, etc, etc. We know this. Yet how can we live it?

My foundational belief today is that G-d gave me (and all of us) our worth and it cannot be taken away by anything. No perceived failure, no experience: social, financial, even spiritual, can reduce even a microscopic iota of our worth. We have worth because we breathe, even if it’s by virtue of a medical machine. G-d wanted me and you here. I believe that why? Because here we are.

Back to Rosh Hashana. How can I/we, like the creation of the world and of Adam and Eve, become NEW this Rosh Hashana?

My choice is swimming somewhere in this.

Worth is a given. Sometimes when I get caught up in whatever life circumstance that may not be going my way, I forget. How easy it is to not only feel disappointed, but also to unwittingly lose access to my deep down full on reservoir of self worth…if I think about losing something I want.

My willingness, my lean-into, my leap into rebirth this Rosh Hashana, 2020


I will trust G-d

to ALWAYS hold my self worth in perfect and full order, always here, always available, in this breath.

Like the seeds under the soil that we can’t see, growing and developing, ready at any point to burst through the dirt and surprise us with their great beauty, my/our worth is here always, though sometimes not visible to us.             

How can I do this? What does it mean to be born anew into my/our inherent worth?

I think I will just make a decision.

That decision is, regardless of the narratives swirling in my head, or the life circumstances happening around me…

I will

hold worth

as immutable.

I trust the sun will rise tomorrow. Or more accurately, it will create some light in a 24 hour period; likewise I will hold tight that my and your worth is real, irreplaceable, beautiful, and invulnerable.

I am vulnerable as a human being. My thoughts and my being are vulnerable.

But this Rosh Hashanah, I’ve decided to hold tight, to claim, our essential constant worth.

Rosh Hashanah is also a time of sweetness. With worth as a given, it leaves us a lot more space to take the daily circumstances, myself, and my thoughts, just a little less seriously. Let’s throw in a little laughter too.

The next time I tell you that I made this or that mistake (like just suppose I can’t figure out how to adjust my name’s appearance  on zoom calls 😱),  I give you permission to laugh at me.

L’shanah tovah tikateivu v’teichateimu; wishing all a good and sweet year, and may you be inscribed and sealed for blessing in the Book of Life.

Love, Vivi

p.s. …really, if you can explain to me how to remove my son’s name from under my zoom picture and substitute it with my name, I will be forever grateful. I wish I could tell you I was kidding. 😳🤭  ©

* WATCH THIS VIDEO! Young boy (Bibi) goes viral singing Avinu Malkeinu  (JERUSALEM POST article with video embedded)

If you enjoyed this story and know of anyone else who might, please feel free to share it. And always know your comments (all the way at the bottom!) are loved and welcome. 💖

Cover Photo by KS KYUNG@mygallery,  Spiral photo by Billboard Photo by, Kermit Photo by, Field of flowers Photo by MIO ITO@mioitophotography

4 thoughts on “ROSH HASHANAH: and self worth

  1. Susan Bodley says:

    Hey Vivi. I especially like the idea of re-experiencing challenges – but that we are not in the same place. I think this ties in with your idea of how we learn from all of our experiences (family, friends, school, etc.) And our learning colors our outlook and beliefs. If you have learned that the world is a scary place and people are not to be trusted to be their best selves, it is hard to unlearn this. I think it takes a lot of work simply to identify that that is how one is traveling the planet. The work is hard and wonderful — and we all have work to do. Here’s to the continuing journey.

    • Vivi says:

      Thanks Susan. I’ve heard it said that self awareness is the most powerful personal tool that is in our hands. We can get to know the map and the direction we want to travel. Thank you for your comments; always thought provoking. 🙂

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