It’s the Jewish new year 5799. The time of year when we review our achievements of the past twelve months, ponder areas that need improvement, and set a course for the new year.
Over the last few decades, I’ve made it my personal goal to mentally lay out a few things to change in the Jewish new year. Do volunteer work. Read more. Talk less. Work out. I do admit to having one constant on my list every year (and I even include it in my traditional January 1 new year’s plans too). Ready?
Wear lipstick every day. And reapply it when necessary.
Yes, I said it. It’s out there. Except I hardly ever wear lipstick in the first place. To me, lip color finishes your look, brightens your face, and it can make you look and feel awake. That may be the root to my most recent medical conditions. I’ll mention it to the hematologist next week.
I add the lipstick requirement to make the rest of my new-year to-do list seem less serious. The High Holidays prompts us to answer questions posed in the Talmud, such as did you conduct your business faithfully? Did you have a family? A local rabbi writes: “There is a deeper perspective on [acting faithfully]. Not only is the issue acting faithfully to others, but also about acting faithfully with ourselves. In other words, we are asked if we reached our potential.”
He continues: “So many of us tell ourselves that there are things we can do and things we can’t—which many times means we won’t do…. We are each given unique gifts.… The reason for our existence in this world is to use these divine gifts to bring sanctity and purpose into the world. If we don’t challenge ourselves, we are falling short.”
The High Holidays should prompt us to evaluate if we are using our own special gifts. What are you doing to make life better? For you? For your family? For your community?