Rosh Hashanah Message: Rabbi Lauren Henderson
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Rosh Hashanah Message: Rabbi Lauren Henderson

Rabbi Lauren Henderson shares her thoughts and inspiration for the Jewish New Year.

Rabbi Lauren Henderson
Rabbi Lauren Henderson

As a new mom, I’m constantly forgetting things. Where did I leave that pacifier? Did I schedule my son’s 9 month appointment already, or did I just think about scheduling it and forget? I wish I could be the kind of mom and rabbi who, like Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus in the Mishnah, is called a bor sud she’eino me’abed tipah – a plastered cistern who never loses a drop (Pirkei Avot 2:8). He would never forget a single thing that he had learned, and all the wisdom would stay inside of him like a sealed water vessel.

Alas – these days, I’m a pretty leaky vessel, more like a colander than a cistern. Which is why I find myself drawn this year to the lines from the Rosh Hashanah Musaf liturgy that describe G-d this way: “You are mindful of Your creatures since the beginning of time…you remember every deed, and nothing in creation can be hidden from You. You have always remembered that which has been forgotten, for there is no forgetting in Your realm.” (Machzor Lev Shalem, Zichronot, p. 161-162)

The idea that there is a place, a space we call G-d that is the source of all memory, where nothing is ever forgotten, gives me great comfort. In a time of life when I feel my own limitations and finitude every single day, I find great relief in connecting with a Presence that is infinite and boundless, that remembers everything, that is meeting us in every moment with infinite forgiveness and love.

I hope you, too, are able to remember your core divine essence and forgive yourself when the going gets tough. If this is a year when “reaching for the stars” seems way too much to aim for, maybe this year can be about reaching for the very next moment with a little more kindness toward yourself and others.

May you be met with kindness in every encounter in this year to come.

Rabbi Lauren Henderson is the spiritual leader of Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs.

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