On the Sat Night before Rosh Hashanah, a student burst in to our Havdalah and Pizza, laptop in hand, got right to work, immersed and invested, focused like I’ve hardly ever seen him! It took a lull in his action to dare stop for a slice of pizza… Basically, he was on video chat or something with his league at home, and they were doing their football fantasy draft for the coming year. He shouted aloud his choices and options, and his peers tried to offer advice and suggestions, everyone leaning in to help.  One friend quoted an online expert who said that your team at the end of the season is hardly ever the same as the one you chose at the start of the season, but nevertheless it all starts with that draft.

While watching this frenzy unfold I was thinking of (after all, there’s much planning and preparation to do for) Rosh Hashanah, which literally means The Head of the Year. It is true, as the friend said, that much can and will change and develop over the course of the year, but Rosh Hashanah is the draft, it all begins now, this is when we make choices and commitments, and make our alignment for the year ahead. Hence the urgency, the frenzy, the seriousness of the Jewish New Year. It’s not a party but Days of Awe, times of reflection and analysis, intense focus and concentration. This is our draft, we want to play our cards right, make the best choices and investments that we’re able, and we’re taking it seriously. 

There’s probably a lot more to be learned from fantasy football/sports, but for Rosh Hashanah, let’s start with this message and awareness. Something auspicious and lasting is being set up here.