Genesis 22:1-24, Parshat Hashavua for Rosh Hashanah 5784, September 16, 2023

Rosh Hashanah is here once again, inviting us to review and renew our lives. Judaism is a religion of moral purpose, not one of individual salvation. It is the community and our relationships, with God and with each other, that matter the most. How we live here and now will determine our future, in this world and, if you believe in it, in the world-to-come. Rosh Hashanah is our annual opportunity to begin again, to be different, to grow and to change for the better. Why then do we read the Akeida, the story of Abraham almost sacrificing his son at God’s command? Perhaps one reason is to remind us that living a moral life, doing good and caring for others, is hard. It demands sacrifice. Not like the sacrifice God demanded of Abraham, but a sacrifice nonetheless, of not putting our needs first. Living a Jewish life, or any moral life, is not easy, but it is deeply satisfying. Caring for our needs above all is a lonely way to live. Being in relationship, with our family, with friends, with our community, and with God is the way to a life of meaning and purpose. Shannah tovah u’metukah… may you have a good and sweet New Year.