Birthing the New Year
Having completed the book of B'reysheet/Genesis, we come to the book of Sh'mot/Names. What does the act of naming signify? In many cultures,including Jewish ones, naming is infused with significance.In Ashkenasi Jewish tradition, we name our children after one whose memory we wish to keep alive, or for traits we wish to call down as blessings upon the infant. Sepharadim, on the other hand, name their children after a loved one who is STILL on this earth, so that the transmission of blessings can occur through the child feeling,learning and emulating the admirable qualities of their elder.
Before we name the offspring officially (even though we may already have names in mind for them), they must be birthed, whether in a hospital or by the hands of a midwife. In parshat /the chapter of Sh'mot, from which the Biblical book gets its name,we are told that the Egyptian midwives "feared God" ( I prefer to think of it as being in awe of God) and refused to follow Pharaoh's order to kill all the Israelite baby boys. One of those boys was, of course, Moses, the future leader of the Israelite people.The midwives' action thus saved an entire people!
We too, can play the part of midwives as we usher in the secular New Year. We can call forth blessings from the Tree of Life by NAMING those blessings which we want to see come to fruition. To do this, we must have the ability to visualize the reborn year as we WANT it to be, a picture of Health, Energy, Interconnectedness, Replenishment, and Sh'mittah (Release, or a pregnant pause). An easy way to remember these blessings is the acronym formed: HEIRS. In naming what we want to see in the world as if it is already present, we are midwifing the New Year!
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