As the curtain comes down on 5779, and we celebrate the New Year of 5780, we look back and review the past year, as well as prepare for an even better year ahead. Many beautiful things happened in 5779, and we acknowledge those blessings. Yet there were also many challenges, which we also much address.
No one will quickly forget these words: Tree Of Life. Poway. Words that capture the tragic events of the past year.
Just a few weeks after last year’s High Holiday season, on Shabbos, October 27, eleven Jews were murdered al kiddush Hashem, in Tree Of Life in Pittsburgh. Exactly half-a-year later, six months to the day, on the last day of Passover, a pure soul, Mrs. Lori Gilbert-Kaye, was killed in cold blood in Poway.
This past year brought personal challenges as well. Some of us may have lost loved ones. Some may have experienced family crises. Some lost jobs, faced health issues, emotional traumas, or psychological challenges.
Whatever the challenge may be, the real question is as we enter a New Year: How to deal with and overcome them?
The answer is found in a fascinating story related to events we recollect on Rosh Hashanah: how Satan challenged Abraham and Isaac on three three-day journey to the Akeidah. Not once, not twice, but three times. First as an old man, then as a young millennial, and finally by means of a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.
These reflect three general types of challenges each of us face in life.
And our forefathers’ response to these challenges is also ours.