I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a sense of newness this week. The High Holidays and the subsequent 9-day holiday of Succos/Shemini Atzeres-Simchas Torah — all grouped, in the Al-mighty’s wisdom, at the beginning of the Jewish year — have been a spiritual cleansing for the Jewish people and the world. We’ve left the car wash with a sparkling new finish.

Yet, it’s not unlike the world that Noah saw when he peeked from the Ark for the first time. The flood had completely transformed the earth and the universe, and it was up to Noah and his family to set the world on its new footing. That’s a daunting task if ever there was one!

This week, we peek out into the world after our recent, incredible spiritual experience, and look to the year ahead of us — and we are faced with a similarly daunting task. How do we maintain our sparkling new character this year?

Think of the car wash. If the day after the car was cleaned the body is dirtied with mud, you can clean it up with a quick squirt of water from the hose. If you let the mud dry and cake onto the car, it’s much harder. In the new year ahead there will likely be times that we mess up and become “soiled” with failure. Know that the year is not shot! One mistake, or even 100, are not the end of hope for the whole year. We can quickly renew our sparkling character by picking ourselves up and expressing our desire to make another best effort.

May it be a year of constant renewal for all of us!

Good Shabbos!

Rabbi Mordechai Dixler
Program Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org

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