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A wish or a decision

Friday, 25 October, 2019 - 4:54 am

“Happy New Year” is not a wish; it is a decision.

I have told this dozens of times in the past month to anyone who has come to the Chabad House in Basel.

I fully believe in it. True, we wish each other a Happy New Year; that is important and even great! But when it comes to ourselves we should not let it remain as just a wish; we should be proactive, in faith and in actual action, in order to make sure that this coming year will be a good one in every way.

Before the holidays we forgave others, and ourselves as well. There are many who said, “I forgive myself.” This is important and even great, but its proper place is at the end of the year. When one is about to begin a year, the forgiving should be set aside together with self-pity, and one should get into a mode of movement and action.

To enter such a mode means to take everything that we have received during the holidays, especially Succot and Simchat Torah – the lightness and the joy – put it all in a bowl and make up a dish of energy, joy, lightness, faith and trust.

The Chabad Rebbes brought into the world a special declaration and message for Shabbat Bereishit, a declaration that encompasses much and is particularly suited for the first Shabbat after the holidays, the Shabbat after which we finally return to our routines. “The way a person places himself on Shabbat Bereishit, so will be all year.” In my opinion, we’re not talking mystical ideas here, but rather technique. A person who approaches the reishit, the beginning of the year’s routine with a mindset of “I can’t, I won’t succeed, I have no money and no ability. I have no time and no chance at all,” there is no doubt that that is what his year will look like, too.

On the other hand, a person who at the beginning of his year approaches it with proactivity and even a declaration such as “This year I am going to fix my economic situation, no matter what. I’ll bring stability and joy to my family and household. I have the ability to do so. I intend to invest some time this year in my child who is having slight difficulties in school, so that by the end of the year have him on equal level with his classmates, and I know I can do that. This year I will bring my marriage to a high level of love, fellowship, peace and friendship, because I can. When I want something, I make sure to get it.” I have no doubt that someone who comes with such a proactive approach will indeed achieve whatever he wants to achieve in the coming year.

Practically speaking, this is not easy. One must invest time and effort, and labor in order to advance, improve and grow. But if we believe in ourselves and our abilities, if we believe that we can overcome all the challenges facing us, then surely we will come out on top. One thing I’m sure of: Hashem certainly believes in us, otherwise he wouldn’t have given us all this responsibility in our lives.

A Happy New Year is not a wish but rather a decision – as a certain American once said: “Yes, we can!”

Shabbat Shalom,

 

Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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