How do you learn to live? By not taking life for granted.

Preparing for Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur

 In 2011, in advance of Rosh Hashanah, the Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur 5772, the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks recorded a series of ten short videos, each reflecting on a particular theme or prayer pertinent to this special and spiritual period in the Jewish calendar.

These timeless messages are equally applicable as we enter any new year.

Zachreinu lachayim. Remember us for life.

It was more than forty years ago. We were on our honeymoon and we were passing through a little Italian town called Paestum. It has some roman ruins, and a lovely beach, and that morning, a glittering, heartbreakingly beautiful sea. The problem was: I couldn’t swim. But as I looked I saw people were standing hundreds of yards into the water and it still only came up to their knees. So, thinking it was safe, I walked out hundreds of yards and sure enough the water came up to my knees.

Then I started walking back to the shore, and suddenly I found myself out of my depth. I’d walked into a dip in the sea-bed. No one was close. I was about to drown. And as I went under for the fifth time I remember thinking, “What’s the Italian for help?” and “What a way to begin a honeymoon.”

Someone saved me. How? Who? I never knew. By then I was more or less unconscious.

But this I have known ever since: Every day is a gift from God. When we know that and feel it in our bones, that’s when we really live.

Shanah Tovah.