My son Jacob has been playing the Spice Girls 1996 hit "Wannabe" a lot lately. In a flash, the connection between the song and preparation for Rosh Hashanah came to me a few nights ago.
The lyric, "So tell me what you want, what you really really want" speaks to the heart of what the Creator asks us as we look back over the past year in preparation for Rosh Hashanah, traditionally the day we are judged to determine if we merit another year of life on planet Earth. (The tradition states Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the day mankind was created, the day Adam was judged and forgiven. Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement, the day when the Creator's judgment for the coming year is sealed.) As we acknowledge where we have been and ask forgiveness for missing the mark in our thoughts and actions, we have the chance to start anew, to realign ourselves with what we really really want as we stand before the Divine in a new year.
It isn't always easy to be real with the mistakes we have made and the hurt we have caused. There are forces at play both within and without that do their best to lead us astray, to keep us away from realizing our full potential and deepening our relationships with God.
It is customary to recite King David's Psalm 27 during the month preceding Rosh Hashanah. In this Psalm, David left us a poetic blueprint for how to deal with the negative energies coming against us as well as his answer to the challenge, "So tell me what you want, what you really really want."
No matter what came against David, and it was a lot, he was clear on what he trusted and what the fate of his enemies would be as long as he stayed true to his deepest knowing. The Psalm begins with this beautiful statement of his faith:
God is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? God is my life's strength, whom shall I dread?
How did David manage to keep the faith in the face of real enemies who were out literally to kill him? Perhaps the key lies in what he really really wanted. Here is how the poet David put it:
One thing I ask of God, that shall I seek: That I dwell in the House of God all the days of my life; to behold the sweetness of God and to contemplate in His Sanctuary.
David's love of God and his clarity in making that love the core of his life has shone through the ages. It allowed him to face his enemies with strength and certainty. It created an unshakable foundation that nourished him and sustained him. Even when he made terrible mistakes, David knew sincere remorse would lead him back to dwell in the House of God.
Holidays like Rosh Hashanah are wonderful opportunities to plug in to a collective energy that has power and tradition behind it to help overcome obstacles, be renewed, and return to living from your essence. And, any day is a good day to ask yourself, what it is you really want? If you are not satisfied with the initial answer, go deeper. Keep on asking the question until you are satisfied the answer comes from your heart and soul and not just your head.
David used great wisdom and deep love to state what he really really wanted. May you be blessed to discover and/or return to what you really want this Rosh Hashanah.