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A Prayer for Simple Things

09/09/2021 07:48:00 AM


Rabbi Bruce Aft

Dear Friends,

The traditional greeting from Rosh Hashanah through Hoshanna Rabbah is g'mar hatimah tovah, may we be SEALED for a good new year. (Some say, "g'mar tov" which means a good completion to the process of teshuvah or repentance)

As I went through old files, I discovered the following reading from the rabbi of my parents' synagogue, West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest, IL. Their rabbi was Moshe Babin who was instrumental in helping me gain admittance to rabbinical school.

The prayer is dated a bit (it is probably at least 60 years old) but there are still timely and inspirational thoughts. I hope it provides you some inspiration and that you will share parts of it with those you love.

G'mar hatimah tovah,

Rabbi Bruce Aft


In response to many requests, the prayer which Rabbi Babin read on Rosh Hashanah Eve is here reprinted.

Jews wish each other a good New Year and I wish one for all of you and for all your loved ones. I pray that God will be with you. I pray for you Simple Things.

For your children and your young ones I pray for them a New Year in which each day shall be a shining coin to give a new measure of joy and delight. I hope that on each day happiness will be their own, unmeasured — and renewed each night so abundantly that there will be no room in their hearts for sorrow to enter. So if in days ahead your child cries, let it never be for an important reason; and may you be there to dry the tears and with the magic of love, transform those tears into laughter and delight. May the year not stand still for them, and each day be a growing day, with strength for the body and spaciousness for the spirit. May they learn to have knowledge and understand the friendliness of books and joyousness of music. Let them not be afraid, neither of their own weakness nor of the world's evil. With their dreams ever growing, let them hear God and trust Him.

And to you, father and mother, husband and wife, may God give your
homes light and the light of love and companionship. I pray it will
be a New Year - replenishing the well of affection, let the waters of joy flow clear and full. May you recognize the difference between what you will need and what you will want. And may what you will want not spoil the delight of what you have. Let no one be poorer than you in envy and jealousy.

I hope that your devotion to your children will serve their needs and their abilities and not your ambitions. Help them to grow into what they have the capacity to become and not into what you think they ought to be. Mould them into the image of God and not in your own image, nor in an image acceptable and approved by your friends. 

You who are husbands — do not run so fast to business that you forget to walk through life's joys. No grindstone, no fortune can sharpen affection and give an edge to living. No one has ever manufactured love nor packaged friendship, except in the heart and by the work of the spirit.

You who are wives - may you be no less concerned over a wrinkled spirit than over a wrinkled forehead. Seek an inner beauty of which the outer will be a reflection. To your husband - may you be a queen. To your children may you be a guardian princess. To your faith, may you be a royal servant, daughter of the King of Kings,
the Holy One, blessed be He.

And you who are in the autumn years of life, God grant that the New Year be for you a year of golden days - each beautiful with the bright and lovely colors of the fall. May some seed of kindness, planted by you long ago and long forgotten, have taken root somewhere and have flowered in some good life. Let the boughs of your tree of life be heavy with the fruit of love from dear ones and of affection from friends, so that the autumn years rest lightly on your shoulders and gently on your spirit, with no regrets for the past, no dissatisfaction with the present, no concern for the future. May you always be wanted, always needed because you are always loved.

May our people, the Jewish people, look forward to a year of peace. May they come close to their faith and become so permeated with its noblest principles. And so living, may others say: these indeed are the chosen of God.

May our homeland, Israel, strengthen itself and live peacefully with its neighbors. Once again let it become the place from which Torah will come forth.

May our own beloved country as well as all men of good will be fortified in this coming year in the conviction that the world can live in peace only on the principles of trust and justice.

These are the hopes of my heart for the new Year for you and for all men. They are hopes fervently held , beyond the power of words to express.

If anybody asks you what your Rabbi talked about on Rosh Hashanah Evening just say "He talked of simple things which are as big as the world."

May God fill your world with brightness in the new Year. May He inscribe you and yours for life and happiness, for a year of sweetness and delight.

Thu, June 30 2022 1 Tammuz 5782