13 Iyar 5783 – 4 mei 2023
“Speak to the Israelites, saying: ‘You must celebrate the first day of Tishrei, the seventh month, as a day of rest. As you know, even though the months have been counted from Nisan ever since the Exodus, the years are still counted from Tishrei as they have been ever since Adam was created on this day. This holiday will therefore be known asRosh HaShanah (“Head of the Year”). Inasmuch as the new year begins on this day, it is a day of judgment, on which I will predetermine the events of the upcoming year. Therefore, in your prayers to Me on this day, you must recite verses from the Torah that mention My remembrance of Israel and of the shofar blast required to be sounded on this day. This will recall the merit of your forefather Isaac’s willingness to sacrifice himself and how a ram—recalled by the ram’s horn you sound—was offered up in his stead. You must celebrate this day as a holy occasion that you must honor with fine clothes, special food, and appropriate prayers. 
Erev Rosh Hashana this year is on Friday evening, September 15, so in 4 months, that’s a while away, yet it is in this week, in this Parsha, the time of the Omer Count, that it is pointed out.
As the text above says, this day has been there from the moment Adam was created, which is a joyous occasion. It is the day G-d decided that Adam and Chava, and thus man, was needed in creation. It was also a sad day because Adam and Chava made a mistake and had to leave Gan Eden as punishment.
How wonderful to be reminded of this in this time of the Omer, we can actively work on our traits.
We could read in the text above that for Adam his birth day and Rosh Hashana coincided. This may lead us to use our birthday as a moment of reflection as well. Your birthday is a unique day for that, because it was on the day of your birth that G-d decided that the world could not do without you. This energy that caused you to be born is also with you on your birthday. You have a unique task to accomplish in this world and what better day in the year to think about whether you are fulfilling your own personal task in this world and how you could increase or improve it. What did I do, learn and what should I try to improve in the next year.
A good habit is to say/ study your birthday Psalm. Thats the Psalm which corresponds to your new year. This is your age plus one — e.g. Psalm 25 if this is your 24th birthday.
Two practical questions
- May I receive gifts on my birthday – yes
- May I have a cake with candles – a cake is obviously delicious and belongs to a festive occasion, which your birthday certainly is. Whether you want candles on it is something you should think carefully about.
Placing candles on the birthday cake to be blown out all at once is a folk custom derived from the Greek tradition in honor of the goddess Artemis. Special cakes were baked for her in the shape of the moon. These were placed on the altar in the temple dedicated to her. If the candles were blown out all at once, Artemis would be voted well.
Bear in mind that in Judaism, candles are a symbol of the soul. The last thing you want on your birthday is to “blow out your soul.” 
Indeed, every morning we are “born again.” In Mode Ani – which Noahides can also pray – we pray:
.מודה אני לפניך מלך חי וקיים, שהחזרת בי נשמתי בחמלה; רבה אמונתך
Modeh Ani L’fanecha
Melech Chai V’kayam
Shehechezarta Bi Nishmati B’chemla
I offer thanks to You,
living and eternal King,
for You have mercifully restored my soul within me;
Your faithfulness is great.
If the morning is such an important time and such a blessing to wake up, let’s end the day well. By forgiving others and asking for forgiveness. Reflect on your day before you close your eyes. This can be done well with the Ribono shel Olam – Master of the World 
Ribono Shel Olam prayer.
|Master of the World,|
I hereby forgive
whoever has hurt me,
And whoever has done me
Whether it was
Deliberately or by accident,
Whether it was
Done by word or by deed,
In this incarnation
Or in previous ones.
May no one,
Be punished on my account.
|רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם|
לְכָל מִי שֶׁהִכְעִיס וְהִקְנִיט אוֹתִי
בֵּין בְּגוּפִי בֵּין בְּמָמוֹנִי
בֵּין בִּכְבוֹדִי בֵּין בְּכָל אֲשֶׁר לִי
בֵּין בְּאוֹנֶס בֵּין בְּרָצוֹן
בֵּין בְּשׁוֹגֵג בֵּין בְּמֵזִיד בֵּין בְּמַחֲשָׁבָה בֵּין בְּדִבּוּר בֵּין בְּמַעֲשֶׂה.
בֵּין בְּגִלְגּוּל זֶה
בֵּין בְּגִלְגּוּל אַחֵר
לְכָל בַּר יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא יֵעָנֵשׁ
שׁוּם אָדָם בְּסִבָּתִי.
|May it be Your will,|
O L~rd my G~d,
G~d of my parents,
That I sin no more,
That I do not revert
to my old ways,
That I do not anger You any more
by my actions,
May I do not do that
which is evil in Your sight.
|יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ|
שֶׁלֹּא אֶחְטָא עוֹד
וְלֹא אָשׁוּב עוֹד
|Wipe away the sins|
That I have committed,
With Your great compassion,
But not through
Sickness or suffering.
אֲבָל לֹא עַל יְדֵי יִסּוּרִים
|May these words|
Of my mouth,
And the prayers
That are in my heart,
Be acceptable before You,
O L~rd, My Rock and my Redeemer
יְהוָה צוּרִי וְגֹאֲלִי׃
Let every day be a day like Rosh Hashana. A day when you are grateful for the life you have been given with a reflection at the end of the day how you did your life’s task that day.
By Angelique Sijbolts
 Prayer of Forgiveness from the Bedtime Shema, by Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria z”l, translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
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