Day One: The Birthday of the World
In the Machzor, the High Holy Day prayerbook, Rosh Hashanah is called, "Hayom Harat Olam," the birthday of the world. You might think that on this day, we would read the story of the Creation of the world from the Torah (Genesis 1). But instead, the special Torah reading for this day comes to us from later in the book of B'reisheet (Genesis), chapter 21:1–34. Here, we read about the birth of Isaac to his parents, Abraham and Sarah. The Haftarah for the first day of Rosh Hashanah tells us about the birth of another child - Samuel (1 Samuel 1:1-2:10). What does the birth of these two children have to do with the Creation of the world?
Before we answer that - here's another mind-blowing tidbit - even though we call Rosh Hashanah, "the Birthday of the World" - Rosh Hashanah isn't the anniversary of the first day of Creation. According to Rabbi Eliezer in the Talmud, the World was created by God on the twenty-fifth of the Hebrew month of Elul. Elul is the month before Rosh Hashanah, which falls on the first day of Tishrei. So if the first day of Creation was on the twenty-fifth of Elul and Rosh Hashanah falls six days later, Rosh Hashanah is actually the sixth day of Creation. Now think back to Hebrew school, what was created on the sixth day? Adam - human beings. Rosh Hashanah isn't the birthday of the world - it's the birthday of humanity.
Today is the first day of the Ten Days of Repentance and today we're having a party - we're celebrating the birthday of the world!
Maybe that's why we read about the births of Isaac and Samuel on Rosh Hashanah. The birth of these two Biblical characters reminds us of the birth of humanity.
If you have an iPhone, you know about FaceTime. Apple tells us that FaceTime allows us to "Connect with family and friends around the world."
On Rosh Hashanah, when we celebrate the Creation of humanity we want to make FaceTime even more meaningful so for us, FaceTime stands for:
What Do I Do?
Carve out some time today to celebrate the creation of those you love most. Whether its in person or from a distance, spend some FACE TIME with your loved ones. Let them know how important they are in your world. Let them know that they ARE your world.