The beginning of the year is phrased as ‘teshuvat hashanah,’ which literally means “the return of the year.” The nature of the year is cyclical, and the holidays, which are the focus of the Jewish year, constantly repeat themselves. In a certain sense, the beginning of a new year is in fact a return to the old year, going back to the times of Moses and the exodus from Egypt which many of the holidays commemorate. Furthermore, the Jewish new year focuses on God’s judgement and man’s repentance. The word ‘teshuva,’ which means return, also means repentance. ‘Teshuvat hashanah’ means the time of year when we are obligated to repent. Our rabbis teach that one of the most powerful ways of doing teshuva is to emulate God’s trait of giving to others; this is even emphasized in the Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur liturgy. When we shower our fellow with kindness and generosity, God will certainly do the same for us.

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Source: Israel in the News