It is a Western American tradition every January 1st to wish our friends, family, and professional colleagues a “Happy New Year”. Well for thousands of years now, it has been a Jewish tradition to wish those same important people in our lives “L’Shana Tova”, or a “Good Year”, during the High Holy Days, a period that lasts from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.
Please don’t read this as a critique of American culture. I for one am happy to make my New Year’s resolutions with the best of them every year and celebrate the end of the holiday season with well-intended well wishes for everyone. I only offer this distinction as a different point of view that may produce very different – and powerful breakthrough – results in your life this year. I can be happy in any given moment and not so much the next. Happy, then, isn’t much of a source of inspiration for me, and it doesn’t leave a lasting impression that guides my individual actions over time.
In Jewish traditions, we also hold the concept of “tzedaka”, or doing good acts for and giving selflessly to others, dear to us. For me, this is the foundation of making it a good year instead of simply focusing on making it a happy one. With an intention of being good, I care for my family more completely, I work more authentically with my clients, and quite likely I create a higher quality space for myself unlike at other times.
So on this Yom Kippur day, I wish you all – my friends, family, and professional colleagues – L’Shana Tova. Together, let’s make it a good year!