Hayom harat olam – Today the world is pregnant

A Sermon for Erev Rosh HaShannah 5777

By Rabbi Pamela Frydman

Rosh HaShannah is the Jewish new year, the birthday of the world, and the anniversary of creation.

It is easy for us to understand that Rosh HaShannah is the Jewish new year because Rosh HaShanah is when our calendar changes. Earlier today, the Jewish calendar was in the year 5776 and when Cantor Marla led us in the blessing over the candles, the calendar shifted to 5777.  The changing of the calendar from one year to the next makes sense to us because it is the same as what happens on January 1st.

But talking about Rosh HaShannah as the birthday of the world and the anniversary of creation is a bit more complicated. We celebrate our own personal birthday on the anniversary of our birth. But according to Chinese culture and certain African cultures, our birthday is actually the anniversary of our conception. Some religions teach that life begins at conception while other religions teach that life begins at birth.

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