Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rosh HaShonah 5773 (2012)

Dear Beloved Family, 

Although I may not have been a very good Jewish father or role model over the years, there still is within me a strong, abiding attachment to this ancient religion, its teachings and the spiritual longing that they inculcate within the soul.  No matter these many decades living in the land of Vishnu and the Buddha, with all the regard and respect I have for these divinities and their teachings, my heart is still drawn to the words of the Hebrew Torah and its prophets.  

At this time of year, the start of the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShonah, and the Day of Atonement (at-one-ment) on Yom Kippur a week later, always in September and October (like Desain and Tihar) those atavistic, religious longings reappear deep in my heart's core.  Curious, of course, having come so far away from the land and lessons of my forefathers, but there it is, the 'crie de couer' (cry of the heart) that comes, at times, when least expected.  

Who among us is to explain the longings and passions of the human soul?  Not me, certainly, possibly other teachers, gurus, rimpoches and rabbis.  Not me...

This is merely to say how much I love all of you, how my life has been dedicated to all of you since we first met in this world.  In many ways, long before we met, too, when the idea of you was so palpable and present in my thoughts as a younger man seeking my truth, my sustenance and my grounding.  You all, each in your own way, has given me so much to cherish and remember in this world.  My life would be so much emptier and lonelier without each of you.  In truth, you have not only given me my present, but my future and built upon my past.    

So, as we approach this most sacred time of the year for the Jewish people, people who carry the values, the history and the heritage of this unusual tradition, I want to share the message below, as it, too, speaks of the meaning of this sacred time of the year for each of us in our own lives, our personal growth and our simple devotion to family.

There are lessons to be found everywhere in the world, echoes and reflections from the quiet of the evening sky, the dew in the morning, the afternoon light sparkling off moving water.  As Joshu knows, this pantheistic nature of the world calls profoundly to each of us.  

And yet, only the human voice can put words on paper or in the air to reach out and communicate more complex and tender thoughts.  Nature can free our souls, but cannot always explain to us how best to live with our neighbors, or friends, or loved ones.  For that, at times, we turn to those wiser and calmer voices who know the depth of our struggle as human beings, our hurts, our vulnerabilities, our wounds, our hopes.  

We need, at times, those voices who teach us to forgive, both others as well as ourselves.  Those who know the words of peace, not only among nations -- but among individuals, family and cultures.  Those sage voices who seek to heal the world person by person, friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor, husband to wife, wife to husband, brother to brother, colleague to colleague, father to son, son to father, other to me, me to the other... in all the binary relationships we have created in this world.  

As a rabbinic commentary for the sacred time of deep reflection during this new year states: 

"We direct the search-light of scrutiny upon ourselves -- rather than focusing it on the shortcomings of others.  We do the intensely personal work required on Yom Kippur without being distracted... since changing the way we regard and speak to one another is a prerequisite to changing society and the world."

I simply wanted to take a moment to wish you all a Happy Jewish New Year, as there are never enough new year celebrations in any year for all of us.  

We are fortunate in Nepal to celebrate many new year blessings -- the Nepali, the Newari, the Tibetan, the Tamang, the Tharu, the Western -- for each day in our brief lives that the sun rises anew, afresh, alive, above, again offers us each opportunities for thankfulness, forgiveness and the offering of love.  

your husband/father/friend/colleague/me


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Keith Jee. Wish u and your family very happy and prosperous New Year!!!

Helen said...

Beautifully stated. L'shanah tovah.
Shalom. h-oh-b