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Rabbi Mendy Herson's Blog

Thoughts from, and conversations with, Rabbi Herson

Can G-d Forget?

We’re human. We forget things because they drop off our mental radar. We can't be constantly conscious of everything and everyone passing through our lives.
G-d, on the other hand, is Infinite, Omnipotent and Omniscient (all-knowing). G-d certainly has no memory lapses.

Yet, on Rosh Hashana we’ll read liturgy in which we ask G-d – a good number of times in a variety of ways – to ‘remember’ us. Seriously? Do we believe in a G-d Who can forget us (G-d forbid)?

Chassidic thought points out that forgetting something implies a distance, a lack of conscious connection between the ‘rememberer’ and ‘rememberee’.

That distance can occur in our relationship with the Divine, but only because WE forget.

When we get wrapped up in the struggles of the moment, when we’re only conscious of what’s directly in front of our [mind’s] eyes and screams for attention, we often forget about Higher Purpose. We can lose consciousness of the fact that we’re created with an objective, and every day needs to be another stride toward achieving that objective.

We can forget G-d.

And when we do, we create a distance between us and our Creator. The ‘gulf of forgetfulness’. And, as in any relationship, that’s a divisive chasm and needs to be bridged.

The good news is that this is quite acheivable.

When you remember something, you’re not learning something new. The forgotten person/factoid is something you’ve been mentally carrying with you; it just dropped below your line of mental vision. It’s there, waiting to be accessed.

So you need to raise it back up, and make it part of your life, part of your mindset.

You only need to sharpen your mental vision…..and remember. And once you recall your Creator, once you re-experience your relationship with the Divine, and commit yourself to maintaining clearer consciousness for the road ahead, the gap has been repaired.

Rosh Hashana addresses our reality: G-d gave us an interactive universe. When we forget the Divine, the distance is mirrored.

The Shofar’s calls jars us from our self-absorbed reverie to remember our Higher Calling. And when that happens, G‑d’s deep love for us bridges the gap and we’re re-united in an intimate bond with the Divine.

Be there.

A Special Time

I teach my kids to exercise critical thinking. I also teach them to respect authority.

If my kids’ teacher or principal gives them direction, it’s for my children to obey. If they doubt the instruction’s morality, they need to follow the proper recourse. But, in the end, they need to follow the rules; they don’t make them and they can’t break them.

Accepting authority means recognizing that life isn’t all about you and your desires. There’s a Higher Order to follow, a purpose you may not perceive, and someone with greater vision to set the parameters. That’s a good thing; because the guidelines [usually] help you to become your best self.

In Torah parlance, Rosh Hashana is a day when we “coronate the King”. G-d is King of the world whether we coronate Him or not; G-d’s not running in an election. So why do we need to ‘coronate’ G-d? Because coronating means submitting to a Higher Authority; it means accepting that my life should be guided by a Higher Objective, and just not just my whims. ‘Coronating’ only helps G-d inasmuch as it helps us.

By blowing the Shofar, we pierce through the haze of our own self-absorption, clearing the static obfuscating our souls, so that we can recognize that there’s more to life. We recognize that we’re created with a Purpose, and that life is about trying to align ourselves with that Purpose.

Our Creator, our Designer of Purpose, is G-d. Accepting G-d’s Authority, Coronating G-d as it were, is embracing that Purpose.

Rosh Hashana is also a reunion of sorts. A reunion is about loved ones reconnecting, finding a familiar comfort with each other. The longer they’ve been separated, the more exhilarating the reunion. It’s rediscovering an old melody that’s been imperceptibly playing in the background of your life.

Any time we rise above life’s noise to rediscover our unbreakable relationship with the Divine, we are reuniting with the Divine. And G-d loves it.

But Rosh Hashana is specifically dedicated to reconnecting with G-d, through genuinely welcoming Him into our lives. It’s a day devoted to the relationship.

Rosh Hashana is reconnecting with Dad. Reuniting with Mom. Reprioritizing your life. Renewing your commitment to a meaningful life.

Truly a Special Time.

Be there.

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