a good and sweet year


Tonight we begin the Jewish new year. It will be the year 5775 according to our calendar. The rabbi of Lubowitzch was once asked by a students, why he blesses each and every one of his followers before the Jewish new year, with the wish for a good and a sweet new year. His reply was that every year is good. That we just have to learn how to appreciate all that we receive. That it is good even if we don’t know how to recognize the good. But that sweetness is a sensory pleasure. And so, his wish is that his friends and students will feel the good and recognize it, as we do when tasting something sweet.

Nechama accompanies me to the park

It is not our custom to shoot fireworks into the sky at the start of a new year. We reflect on what has happened in the past year, and examine our actions and behavior. We repent our mistakes, and celebrate our accomplishments. We do our spiritual book keeping in honor of the year that has come to a conclusion, and remind ourselves that a new year is beginning… a new start in life.

a love letter to god

This has been one of the most difficult years for me. It has been a year of tests and challenges. A year of pain and confusion and losses. But it has also been a year of learning and miracles… and yes, of joy too. Personally, I reached a point where I could only whisper… and then a place where I had nothing more to say… But as we approach the new year, I want to wish myself and every one of my friends and readers a good and sweet year. A year of health and happiness, a good livelihood, the pleasures of learning, and the support of dear friends.

crows waiting on the railing… I hope to tell you the story soon.

I still have a few stories to tell… and some conclusions I came to, at the end of this last painful war. I hope that I will find the strength to continue sharing with you some of my personal experiences and lessons in this world that is filled with surprises.
with love, Shimon


117 responses to “a good and sweet year

  1. OMG, Shimon … there you are … again … was so worried about you … welcome back … Love, cat.

  2. Happy New Year and Happy Equinox … smiles …

  3. Here’s wishing you and your the very sweetest of New Year, I wish you all you wish for yourself. I shall look forward to hearing your stories, especially the one about the crows. Lovely pictures, good to see Nechama looking so chilled!
    Lovely to see you Shimon, I have missed you, very much!xxxx

    • Thank you very much, Dina. It was a truly traumatic experience, but I’m beginning to get my land legs back. I have quite some pictures of Nechama, and a few other cats… all in good time. xxx

  4. Ah Shimon,

    The beauties in your writing, words take on an almost mythical quality; the philosophical perspectives, the wee daily points of life, (crows on rails and Nechama’s piercing gaze) flow gently through to us through the small channels between your descriptive lines. This post is a lovely revival.

    Wishing you and and yours sweet things with this Rosh Hashanah…l’shana tova. Shalom.

    Love M

    • Thanks very much, menhir. I appreciate your blessing in Hebrew, and the reminder of peace. There is a song in Hebrew that says, people always ask for what they don’t have. I think that’s one of the reasons that peace is such an important word in our language, used to say hello and goodbye too.

  5. Dear Shimon and Nechama….I wish you both a very beautiful and sweet New year and send you both much love. Janet. xx

  6. A Happy new year to you and your family. I have been wondering where you were. Looking forward to more words from you.

    • Thanks Bill. The recent war had a very depressing affect on me, and I found it near impossible to write. I plan to write about the way it affected me in the near future.

  7. Happy New Year! Rosh Hashanah……….Shalom

  8. Reblogged this on Rose of Sharon Healing and commented:
    It’s the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah. God bless this new year:-)

  9. Happy New Year to you and may 5575 bring you many more joys than sorrows … and so you know, we are thankful for your presence through your words.

    • From your lips to the ears of science, Frank. I just read that Stephen Hawking has declared that there is no god, and that the best we can hope for is science. Appreciate your kind wishes, and it is a pleasure to hear from you, my friend.

      • I see Mr. Hawking is going down the road that science and religion are incompatible, thus one must make a choice between them … and as you know, I find them compatible.

      • I find some people say there is no such thing as Love…because that have not experienced it themselves or how can those born deaf conceive of hearing the human voice…. and in any case a scientist should know that God’s existence is not a hypothesis to be tested in a lab.. or used in predicting the eclipse of the moon.

  10. A very, very happy new year to you Shimon. You have been in my thoughts often. A year of good health and happiness to come I hope!

  11. Welcome back Shimon I’ve missed you. Wishing you and your family a Shana Tova Ve Metukah.

    • Enjoyed viewing your very good work on a challenging project. And I enjoyed your thorough explanation of our new year. My best wishes to you, Cardinal, with the beginning of the new year.
      גמר חתימה טובה

  12. Your words have blessed me. Thank you for this gift. I will also go in search of a good and sweet year and I’m grateful for all the reminders that have a home in your post. May your journey be a beautiful and revealing one!

  13. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    It is good to hear from you…I have missed your whispers, of seeing past what some would say is now’s moment….
    I started to stop by last night but I thought I would come today to Wish you many Blessings in the New Year of your Faith….
    watching a video of a gentleman who wrote a book “The Mystery of Shemitah” it was interesting…I had heard of it long before, my late-father-in-law talked about it and said his people good learn much from Shemitah,
    I hope I am not offending you, I am on a learning journey these year to find my place within God….sounds strange but it is something I know I need to do, as I was thinking bout that, I saw this video on the book …

    I watch the word changing, seemingly (to me) growing away from all religions to become one of “me and what you can do for me”
    I was raised with God, Country,Family and Friends…even if my world has been Goddess, I always know God is there too…I just never understood Him creating man and woman, yet He is a single parent…we all have our places in this world… equal…side by side…no one above nor under…
    okay rambling… 🙂 I will stop… I just want to wish you a very Special
    New Year….and know I am thinking of your and yours…
    Take Care…You Matter…Shimon, and Thank you for you Gift of Blessings here….I appreciate them very much
    Take Care…You Matter….

    • Thank you very much for your kind wishes and blessings. There are many ways… many perspectives with which to acknowledge that which is beyond us… that which isn’t readily seen. Each of us is aware of other aspects… all of which are a part of the whole. In our tradition, man and woman are seen as two parts of the same thing. Should we argue whether the heart or the lungs are more important? We couldn’t exist without either… God, Country, Family and Friends are so very important in my eyes. But god and goddess are the same. In Hebrew we have male and female words for god. Shemitah is a wonderful level of consciousness regarding the integrity of the land… and part of a much broader context. You can be sure that you never offend me, and it is always a great pleasure hearing from you, Maryrose.

  14. I am so very happy to see you here again, dear Shimon…you were often in my thoughts over the past months…the silence was troubling. Thank you for your well-wishes…I hope your coming year is filled with good and sweetness, as well.

    • Thanks very much, Scott. I went through a traumatic period. The days are getting shorter. There’s the hint of approaching winter in the air… and it seems like summer was completely lost in a nightmare. It is good hearing the birds chirping again, and appreciating aesthetics…

      • Such fitting words, Shimon, about Summer being completely lost in a nightmare…it’s difficult to even begin to imagine what it was like to live through it…I can imagine, though, the sweetness of hearing birds chirping again.

  15. It is wonderful to hear from you again, share your observations, and listen to your wise words, which transend language , religion, age, and country.

    • Thank you so much, Harry, for your warm welcome back to this virtual world. One of the blessings of our human existence, is that we forget pain after it ceases. It enables us to go on with life…

  16. What a lovely post.May you have a good and sweet New Year too,

  17. Beautiful post. Thank you and many blessings.

  18. Very good to see you back here, Shimon, recovering your voice. I look forward to hearing more of it. Happy new year and may even the sour parts of it nourish you.

    • Truly, that is the test of faith, Gill… Our attempts to accept this world as it is, and to find nourishment even in the less tasty sustenance that is all a part of our existence here. I do appreciate your steadfast courage.

  19. Wonderful to hear from you again, my friend. We were quite worried about you, as apparently quite a few folks above were.

    We hope that you have a wonderful new year to look forward to. Sure, it will have its downs, but hopefully it’s full of uplifting thoughts and acts.

    • To tell you the truth, my dear friend, I was worried too… and very disheartened by some of the things I had to see. As we grow older, we lose some of the flexibility that is so essential in withstanding adversity. Sometimes, even a momentary earthquake can do us in. Thanks so much for your good wishes.

  20. Shimon,
    I’ve been thinking about you this week. It is so good to see your post today. Wishing you a good and sweet year and I look forward to reading your insights. They always add much value to my own.

  21. I wish you all the sweetness and joy a year may hold, and an extra dollop or two to cushion any trials, Shimon! I feel like we’ve been in a similar place, spiritually, this year, and I empathize with being called down to a place of silence more by suffering than joy…it is hard to sustain hope at such times…but even in sorrow I recall Leon Bloy’s comment that “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God,” and I know it’s up to each of us to birth that joy and share it in the world…know that your words and images are one of the ways I connect with this joy, which is also the light that helps lead me back to my healing and new engagements with creativity. Bless you and those you love. Smooches to Nechama. Gentle Peace.

    • She who smooches with Nechama, is loved by me. Thank you, Kitty. I agree, that joy is indeed a sign of the presence of god… and moreover, it is a great pleasure to share, and an inspiration to us all. But sometimes, we have the disastrous privilege of seeing a tsunami, an earthquake, or war right before our eyes, and watch the angel of death dragging the good and the evil by their hair, as he lightfootedly tramps through the mud. And if I’m not very mistaken, god is there too. But it is so much harder to share such moments.

  22. I’m so happy to see you, Shimon. Happy New Year to you! I recall reading your beautiful new year post last year. Time goes so fast… and you have gone through a lot of changes this year. Thank you for sharing your stories.

    • Thanks very much, Amy. Yes, time passes quickly, and the older we get, the more it seems that such landmarks might be routine. But looking back to a year ago today, I see myself as young and innocent compared to my present state. Yet I still have hope. Maybe there’s some innocence left…

  23. Welcome back, Shimon. I was wondering where you were. Happy New Year to you too. May it be sweet and fruitful for you and you loved ones.

  24. ❤ lovely to have you back, dear Shimon… and I wish that the new Year will be full with renewed happiness…
    Enjoy your dear Nechama… last week we lost our youngest Ebony… and I can't get over it with the right serenity. But this is… and we shall accept time going past us… as always. I'm happy to read again your "pieces of Jewish Life"… Be well, Claudine

    • My dear Claudine, you have my sympathy and condolences on the loss of your Ebony. How well I know that even those of us who desire to accept the flow and processes of nature are troubled and tested by the loss of a loved one. Thank you very much for your kind wishes. And I’m glad you enjoyed the read.

  25. What a sweet surprise to see you, this morning. My life is the richer for our traveling along the same path, a wondrous marvel considering the distance. 🙂 May your year be blessed.

    • Thank you so much, Judy, for your warm welcome back. Yes, our ability to transcend distance and space, and to share our thoughts and adventures with friends in other continents and cultures is one of the great miracles of our time. It is a sweet pleasure to renew our communication.

  26. Wishing you a Happy New Year, Shimon.

  27. I had no idea that today was going to be the day that my prayer for your return would be answered, so it was especially joyful to see your name show up in my email notifications today. Wishing you a good and sweet new year, and looking forward to sharing the process of your voice returning to full strength again. Silence and whispers are part of our vocabulary, but so, too, is poetry, and song. And prayer. And laughter.

    We appreciate your presence in our world.

    With much love, Nancy (aka ntexas99)

    • Thank you very much, Nancy. Your bravery and consistent friendship is an example and inspiration to me. I am moved by your message and your encouragement. As you know, I have been heartbroken this summer. For a while there, I couldn’t imagine going on with this blog. But the messages from friends, including yourself, gave me the strength to give it another try. I thank you for standing with me when the going was hardest.

      • You, my friend, are the one displaying bravery and consistent friendship, and your words always bring a smile into my heart. I’ve prayed and prayed for you (and your family and friends), and have sincerely hoped you might return to blogging, and am encouraged to hear you testing the waters again. Your voice is important to us all, and we would hate to see you silenced.

        Of course, I have no business asking you to share your words, when I’ve gone silent on my own blog these past few months. Your own return to blogging may be just the impetus I need to get me back in the conversation. Will have to let that thought settle in, and see if it feels appropriate to speak again. Either way, it is a joy to see you. Always.

  28. So glad to see you posting again, Shimon. And Shana Tova to you and yours, too.

  29. Hi Shimon. So nice to read you once again. And, naturally, I have questions. You use the phrase “Rabbi OF Lubowitzch” I am not familiar with the “OF” part. When you have a moment, feel free to teach. And yes…we DO sincerely and solemnly appreciate your presenc in the world. I’m saddened to know that you have experienced some things that took so much from you. I am always here with an ear happy to hear you. Be safe, and be healthy.

    • Hi Bob, there are so many different functions and roles of rabbis, that it would be hard to cover them here. Maybe I’ll write about them one of these days. But their major function is to answer operative religious questions for some sort of community… sometimes as small as having only ten male members. When we speak using ‘of’, we are speaking usually of the rabbi of a city. who is responsible for the affairs of all that city. In the case of the Rabbi of Lubowitch, he was famous throughout the world because he had so many personal followers, and was seen as a great teacher and leader. I am always very happy to see you here, and your questions or comments always add something to the blog. Thanks.

  30. I hope that it’s obvious that quite a few of us ‘appreciate having you in our world.’ You are a gentle glow in the gathering darkness and we’ve missed you. Shana Tovah, Shimon.

    • Thank you very much for your sweet sentiments and friendship, Mary. I am going to try and explain the sort of things I’ve been feeling during and after this latest war we’ve been through. But I can say already that I have been very moved by the friendship I have felt here and in communication with others in cyberspace.

  31. Your post brought a smile and a sigh of relief. You have been much missed and worried about, Shimon. Blessings and happier times in the coming new year, a new year in which I hope many more of your posts follow.

    • Thanks very much for your smile and good wishes, Myra. Your blessings are truly felt. As for the worry, I was worried too. But it is a pleasure to write once again.

  32. I look forward to more stories from you in the new year; may the year that comes be good, and sweet. Blessings to you dear Shimon.

  33. Dearest Shimon, I had been hoping that we would hear from you soon. You have blessed me with your heartfelt words. May blessing, peace and sweetness be yours this new year..

  34. As you can see you have been dearly missed!

    • I am truly moved by the encouraging messages I’ve received in response to the blog, and personal mails too. I feel the need to explain just a little of what I went through, and my thoughts on communication with those living in very different and far away places, and I hope to do so soon.

  35. Reblogged this on Seasons of Heart and commented:
    Many of us had been waiting to hear from Shimon…

  36. Shana Tova Simon – I wish you and your family a healthy, happy and sweet year. It is good to read your words today.

  37. Happy New Year and Happy Equino! I wish you and your family happy and healthy year dear Shimon. And of course best wishes for your lovely cat too 🙂 How nice to hear you, I always miss reading your posts. Thanks and Love, nia

    • Thank you so much, Nia. It is wonderful to hear from you and to receive you beautiful good wishes, and I will try to convey to Nechama that she has friends in far away places. My very best to you too.

  38. A good and sweet year to you as well. I hope you find it in you to continue to write, to share, and to tell stories of your life and experience. I for one, very much appreciate them.

  39. Happy New Year to you 🙂 Best wishes~

  40. May the new year be filled with blessings for you. So nice to see you with the will to write again.

  41. Such a beautiful and heartfelt post, Shimon. I’ve missed you, though appreciate your need for silence. You mention this time being one for a spiritual audit. I think we could all do with this, whatever our beliefs, secular or sacred. ‘Look within to the universal self’ as the Chinese proverb goes.
    Which for some reason reminds me of Leonard Cohen. He’s just had his 80th birthday, and is apparently starting another world tour. The power of creativity: it’s something to hold on to. Your photos prove this too. I love the bougainvillaea and pomegranates, and good to see Nechama looking so spry. And the same must surely go for her master. All best wishes for the New Year.

    • Yes, I enjoy the songs of Leonard Cohen too. I remember, some 45 years ago, I was visiting in Canada, and decided to spend some time reading and thinking in a park that was near where I was staying, and came upon a stone monument, which had a poem engraved on it… or part of a poem by him. He was a much younger man then, and I was very impressed by the fact that the local folk appreciated him and included his words in their park. And I agree, he’s an example of continued creativity… an inspiring example.

      And again, it is just such poets, and many religions that link us to some of the most precious universal emotions and needs in the human being. We are each of us different in our own ways… but when we sing together, we share a collective harmony and happiness… and often find strength we didn’t expect. Thank you so much, Tish, for your beautiful comment.

  42. Happy New Year Shimon and the best of all wishes to you and your family. May the year bring you all that you have so beautifully wished for us.

  43. A Happy New Year Shimon……I think of you often. May this year be more blessed than all the rest.

  44. I have missed your posts, Shimon. I wish you a Happy New Year and most importantly it is my dearest wish that the year ahead will be a peaceful one for Israel and for you.

    • Very sweet of you, Andy. How good it is to hear from you. How wonderful is peace. I didn’t listen to music for about two and a half months. And even when the war was over, I preferred silence for a while. We don’t know just how precious peace is till we are without. Thanks very much for your wish.

  45. I like the idea behind the Rabbi’s blessing. It sort of fits in with how I view the book of Job. First he was blessed, then he was assailed by Satan’s worst devices, but his end was better than the beginning.

    Even if we despair in this life (we all do sometimes) then we can be sure that in The Father’s House are many mansions. The best is yet to come.

    • Even though I see the story of Job as a parable, I have always been troubled by it. My heart breaks for his first wife who disappeared from the scene. And though he got another… still a tragic fate for the first family. But I agree with you, that we have to appreciate the good in life, and overcome despair and appreciate this life that is a sacred gift. Thanks for coming by, Snowgood, and sharing. It is a pleasure to meet you.

  46. שנה טובה ומתוקה Shimon.


  47. So happy to see you and Nechama here again, Shimon. Happy New Year to you. 🙂

  48. Dear Shimon,
    I wish you much sweetness in the New Year. I miss your voice, and look forward to hearing more of your stories and Nechama’s adventures.
    With love,

    • Thank you very much, my dear friend. It took me quite some time to get back on my feet… and only now I’m beginning to check out old comments, and got here. We never know what’s waiting for us around the corner. I appreciate your words.

  49. Happy New Year, Shimon. May it be a year of sweetness.

  50. May you, too, have a truly good and sweet year. May it be filled with unexpected healing and peace, and joys beyond imagining. I wish this for all of us, with all my heart, and most especially for those of you who live in places where good and sweetness are sometimes a challenge to find. Blessings.

    • Thank you very much for your beautiful and generous blessing, Kathryn. It took me quite a while to find my natural pace after the summer. But things look a little better these days.

  51. Thanks for liking my posts and following. I look forward to getting to know you.

    • It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and your writing Ibeth, though I have to admit that I don’t really keep up with your pace. Still, it all stays on the internet, so I’ll make my way at a slower pace.

  52. A beautiful post, Shimon.

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