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Elul 23: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 6:50 (Begin)



Someone I knew hated the expression "new beginning" because it was redundant. The argument was that beginning implies new, right?

Not necessarily. A "do-over" is a beginning of sorts that acknowledges that the first try got muffed up. "Start again, from the beginning" and "begin again" are phrases I use regularly with students and choir singers. A "new" beginning is an attitude, a mindset, an awareness that we have a chance to do something with a fresh take, a new vision. 

Even  בראשית ברא אלוהים, B'reishit bara Elohim, the first words in the Bible, are translated frequently as "when God was beginning," implying that starting this new venture was an ongoing event. It's suggested that God had given this new world thing a go several times already, was about to abandon the effort, and only the angels' intervention gave God the oomph to give it another try ... this time with feeling (as the saying goes).

We're about to begin a new year. 

I daresay that - unlike those of us who hang out with anticipation until 12:31:59 on December 31st - most of us aren't going to be feeling the same anticipation at the exact moment of sunset on Sunday, October 2 (in Bethel, CT, it's 6:33 pm, by the way). 

When will your new year begin? When you light candles and say kiddush in your home on Sunday night? The moment the clergy say, "Shanah tovah ... let's turn to page 1" or as you're leaving your home? Has your new year already begun with your own cheshbon hanefesh, your personal accounting (or perhaps purchasing a new suit or dress or pair of shoes)? 

Or did your new year 5777 begin at 6:50 pm on September 23, 2015, sunset as Yom Kippur ended last year?

Let's begin again, this time with a new beginning.



   

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