Rosh Hashanah 5780: Lessons from Gan Eden


By Rachel Lasry, Staff Writer

While Rosh HaShanah is mainly known as the Jewish new year, its true origin is often overlooked, which is the commemoration of Creation, and essentially the birthday of Adam and Chava. A short period after their creation, after beginning their time in Gan Eden, Adam and Chava made the drastic mistake of defying Hashem’s wishes and giving in to temptation, leading them to eat from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. 

While this reference seems perhaps to contradict the hopeful tone of Rosh Hashanah, it is crucial that we realize that new beginnings, though they offer us a fresh start, do not prevent us from making mistakes. Adam and Chava were blessed with a beautiful new beginning with clear directions from Hashem, and yet their curiosity and human nature drove them to make the dire mistake of defying their Creator. 

We often make this mistake in our own lives: defying Hashem’s wishes and directions that we have been blessed with and giving in to our human nature and desires, even when they defy our faith in Hashem and our overall morals. 

In looking at Adam and Chava’s flawed beginning, there is a beauty in the way that they owned up to their mistakes and took on this new challenge of a more difficult world.

Adam and Chava made mistakes from the very beginning of their time on earth, and paid for it through a much more challenging lifestyle. However, this mistake and the challenges that came alongside it were something that they took in stride. 

Point being, with the approaching New Year, we may expect ourselves to magically reach a new level of perfection after some introspection in light of the approaching fresh start. However, a fresh start does not make us any less human, and while we should always strive for excellence both from a religious, and moral point of view, this is far easier said than done.

 As humans we are bound to make mistakes, no matter how many fresh starts come along in our lifetime. What matters is what we take away from those mistakes, and how they drive us to be stronger, wiser, and more morally and spiritually developed human beings. The solution to our mistakes is not a fresh start, but rather it is the acceptance of our imperfections. 

Like Adam and Chava, we must accept our mistakes and regrets and take them into the new year with us, rather than leaving them behind, in order to learn and grow from them into a wiser version of ourselves.


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