What Do We Wish Now?

Sivan Rahav-Meir: 5 things you need to know in the coming week

These are days filled with customs and laws, such as asking for forgiveness, blowing the shofar, and more. And what do we wish now? Many still say, of course, "Shana Tova" (A Good Year), but during these days, you can add "Chatima Tova" or "Gmar Chatima Tova," which means "A Good Final Seal" or "May You Be Inscribed for a Good Year" respectively

(Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

1. Today is the fast of Gedaliah. It is a day of fasting in memory of the assassination of the leader Gedaliah ben Ahikam by Ishmael ben Netaniah. This tragic assassination, within the Jewish community, symbolized the end of Jewish settlement in the land of Israel during the First Temple period and the exile of the last Jews from there. It remains a painful and significant remembrance to this day.

2. We are already on the third day of the Ten Days of Repentance. The first two days were on Rosh Hashanah, and the tenth day will, of course, be Yom Kippur, on the 10th of Tishrei. These are special days known as the "Days of Favor," days when hearts are open, and the heavens are open, making it easier for us to change for the better.

3. Maimonides writes about these special days as follows: "Although repentance and crying out [to God] are always good, during the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it is even better, and it is immediately accepted." Maimonides goes on to quote a verse from the prophet Yeshayahu, describing the fact that these are days of closeness:

"דִּרְשׁוּ ה' בְּהִמָּצְאוֹ, קְרָאֻהוּ בִּהְיוֹתוֹ קָרוֹב"

"Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near."

4. These are days full of customs and laws, such as saying Selichot, blowing the shofar, and more. And what do you wish now? Of course, many still say "Shana Tova" ("A good year"), but these days you can add - "Chatima Tova" or "Gmar Chatima Tova" ("May you be inscribed for a good year") These are not just words, they express faith that we have the possibility of correction these days, to sign for a good and sweet year.

5. On the Ten Days of Repentance there are also special additions to the prayer. Within the daily routine, slightly different words are interspersed, just for this period. Here is one of those beautiful sentences:

"בְּסֵפֶר חַיִּים, בְּרָכָה וְשָׁלוֹם, וּפַרְנָסָה טוֹבָה וּגְזֵרוֹת טוֹבוֹת, יְשׁוּעוֹת וְנֶחָמוֹת נִזָּכֵר וְנִכָּתֵב לְפָנֶיךָ אֲנַחְנוּ, וְכָל עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְחַיִּים טוֹבִים, וּלְשָׁלוֹם". אמן.

"In the book of life, blessing and peace, and good sustenance and good decrees, salvation and comfort, we are remembered and written before you, and all your people, the house of Israel, for a good life, and peace." Amen.

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