Someone bought me a new pair of shoes the other day. I put them on and they looked fantastic, but then I noticed that my pants looked somewhat scruffy next to the shiny new shoes. So I went out and bought some new pants. They looked great with the new shoes, but wouldn't you know it - my shirt really didn't do the new shoes and pants justice. There was only one option - to go get a new shirt.
Was this a case of the cart leading the horse? Perhaps. So what really happened here? I was actually fine with the old shoes. But getting a new pair disrupted things, and made everything else I was wearing suddenly look relatively bad. The other new items were 'required' to restore the equilibrium and consistency of my clothes.
Every year on Rosh Hashana, something very special happens in the world. As Hashem renews His desire to keep the world going, an ohr chodosh - a new energy - is drawn down into the world. I wrote last year that this new energy means the slate is effectively wiped clean, and that anything ikkuv that might have held back something in the past may now be overcome. This is a cause for great hope and optimism as we enter a new year.
But here's the thing: the ohr chodosh on its own is only part of the puzzle. Any ohr needs a keili in order to vest and be effective. The new year may bring down an ohr that has the potential to deliver a new parnoso opportunity to someone. But if they don't get out there and look for that new opportunity and thus make a keili for the brocho, the ohr by itself cannot achieve anything.
The exciting new ohr of 5775 with the stale old keilim of 5774 and earlier are a bit like the new pair of shoes that makes the rest of your ensemble look wrong and mismatched.
The world we live in is constantly changing. If we look back to a year ago, could anyone have imagined where the world would be today? Indeed, can anyone imagine what the world will look like in a year from now? Albert Einstein famously said: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them". This Rosh Hashana, as we welcome the ohr chodosh, let's also consider how our own thinking and action need to adapt so we can truly get the most from the new spiritual energies that abound.
The year 5775 is the gematria of the word "ta'aseh" - "do". The focus must be on our actions!
Wishing everyone a ksiva v'chasima tovah!