In speaking about relationships, my professor remarked, “With every first hello, there is an impending goodbye.” Meaning that with each birth, new connection, endeavor or beginning, an ending is inevitable. With a start, there is surely a conclusion. It is a natural phenomenon to begin missing someone even as they stand before us, knowing that one day, their physical presence no will longer be there; knowing that one day, our physical presence no longer will be here.
I believe this is the reason Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are adjacent to each other. We acknowledge the birth of the world, our own renewal, a sense of beginning and starting over. And only 10 days later, we recognize that final chapters, endings and finales are just as frequent. Yes, we see a blank slate before us, but the slate is for naught if we think it will exist forever. The purpose of the bookends of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is to take advantage of the time in between. We are gifted a birth and know that death is something we cannot escape.
But the ellipsis of a lifetime is something we control. Not taking for granted a second, minute or hour of this time in between.
The Psalmist reminds us, “The life of man is like a breath exhaling; his days are like a passing shadow.” A lingering shadow to give us pause, awakening our senses, that with every rising sun, there is a sunset that follows.
Hellos and goodbyes will always come; but let us thank God for the “in-between.”
Shabbat shalom, shanah tovah and G’mar hatimah tovah.