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    The ten days ahead

    Rosh HaShanah is great in itself but also a great gateway to the year. It commences the Ten Days of Penitence which start the year off on a serious note.

    If the secular new year were the beginning of a ten-day period it would need a name, which would probably have to be Ten Days of Living It Up. In alphabetical order, it would be addiction, banality, consumption, drinking, eating, frivolity, gambling, hedonism, idleness and jabber.

    I once attempted a list of themes for the Jewish Ten Days of Penitence. I included hope, faith, charity, modesty, peace, truth and justice, a range of theological and ethical issues. Others would have different issues and priorities. But whatever list you go by, it is bound to be serious and thought-provoking.

    The Ten Days are not there for inanities and ephemera, leaving merely a headache and a hangover. They are a precious opportunity to focus our sights on the meaning of God and the purpose of life.

    Make your own list of themes for thinking, and allow them to inform all you do in the year ahead.

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