Last week, I heard from a former student, colleague and friend with whom I haven’t crossed paths for several years. We had seen each other regularly for quite some time, but life, families and professional moves got in the way and the years moved on…
Her lovely note touched me deeply. It told me our friendship had not been forgotten and that our history had meant something—things we all want to hear at some point. As a matter of fact, an old, old movie (starring Jennifer Jones; yes, that old!) entitled, “Good morning, Miss Dove,” recounts the visits over time of a teacher’s students whom she never knew she had touched in such profound ways. It spoke volumes. And, yes, I cried, then, too.
They say, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” If you can run after an accident, is there a doctor still to thank? And, if you needed a hand up before your first job, a hug when words wouldn’t do, someone to hold the ladder as you climbed, literally or figuratively, is there someone out there you still need to thank?
This month, as we approach the High Holy Days, many of us will be attending religious services, sharing meals with loved ones and enjoying the once a year sweetness of a round challah drenched in honey. We will wish our friends and relatives a happy new year and we will pray for good health, happiness and peace. Jews the world over will focus on forgiveness—forgiving others their trespasses against us while asking for that same absolution of them. And then, we will ask G-d to forgive us, too.
While we are in the midst of the season of forgiveness, which begins on Selichot, September 21st this year, might this also be the perfect time to enter a season of gratitude? Imagine reaching out to that teacher, that friend, that parent, that doctor, coach or neighbor—the one you always meant to thank. The year 5780 is upon us. May we each be forgiven our trespasses and may we each be blessed with good health, happiness and shalom. And, may we each know how very valued we are as we reach out and tell someone else that he/she is, too.
Shana tova umetuka,