Our usual garbage dumpster pickup day has been Thursday but this month has been quite sporadic. Once the driver came on Saturday, another time he missed a week. Today is Rosh Hashanah and we already have an overflowing dumpster because it hasn’t been picked up on Thursday as it should have been. And we have to figure out and coordinate all the cars parked in a way so as not to block the garbage truck, which is an ordeal especially on the holiday.
This isn’t usual Rosh Hashanah talk, a holiday that’s supposed to be devoted to prayer and repentance, personal depth and introspection. But this overflowing garbage problem is on our mind, and therefore (in the spirit of the Baal Shem Tov’s vision to learn lessons from everything) must have a lesson and message for us.
This reminds me of what Jack S. said on Shabbos, that this whole high holiday season of Rosh Hashanah and Yom-Kippur reminds him of Listerine, you know the mouthwash. It gives your mouth a fresh new feel, just as the holidays at this time of year start us off on a new, fresh, clean slate for the new year. Other students have echoed this sentiment (sans Jack’s Listerine analogy) how much they cherish and value that sense of a fresh start and clean slate at Rosh Hashanah and Yom-Kippur.
Which brings us back to our delayed and much anticipated garbage pickup. Spiritual clean-up also requires us to toss out some old baggage and garbage. Holding onto it keeps us from getting to that clean stage, it holds us back from new opportunities and future growth. We need to throw out a lot of the old stuff, get rid of the negatives, so we can start fresh, anew.