Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is as much a time to celebrate and be thankful as it is one of introspection and solemnitude. It signifies the start of yamim noraim (“Days of Awe”), leading up to Yom Kippur as we atone for our wrongdoings and, among other things, reach out to people who we have not treated as well as we could have over the past year. Rosh Hashanah is an opportune time to think back back on where we were a year ago, goals we have accomplished since then, relationships that have formed or fallen apart, and how we have worked to better our lives and those of our loved ones. Taking stock is so very important and can be easily overlooked with the whirlwind pace of our lives.
Isn’t it crazy to think how quickly time flies! It doesn’t flow at an exponential rate, but I could swear that occasionally it feels as though I were starting college or vet school only yesterday. I see my first year roommate busily preparing for his biochemistry midterm (which he will assuredly crush!), and I can’t help but smile as I think how much has happened since I was in his shoes. This is the honeymoon of his vet school experience. The enthusiasm he displays reminds me of the days of yore before late night study sessions of painstakingly agonizing over details (that are tested on exams but may not be clinically relevant) became a reality.
Blowing the shofar (instrument usually made from a ram’s horn) is seen as a call to do teshuvah (repentance). I will use the sound not only to that end but also to help me recall the sweetness with which I look upon the business of helping animals (and people), something too often clouded by the demands of school.