It began last week, when my colleague Stephen Leavitt and I were looking for a unique way to bring in the new year, with the help of our readers. We thought of all kinds of polls that would get our readers riled up, or, at least, give them a chuckle. But we couldn’t come up with anything that would combine all the aspects of what a new year is about, and so, finally, we decided to leave it up to the readers.
We called it “The JewishPress.com Rosh Hashanah Petition to God.”
As demands of reader participation go, this one was pretty high. You were supposed to share with us your real hopes for the new year, in an effort to impress God with our appeals as a group and—as a group—receive better attention.
There is a Jewish concept of “The king’s glory is intensified by the size of His assembly,” meaning that in approaching God, the bigger the crowd, the better. But it had to be real, it had to be sincere.
Here are a few of my favorites (my own request was “Please make my most favorite lake in the world, the Kineret, rise up to its healthy level this coming year.”)
Some of our readers were, indeed, direct, personal, open, and sincere:
“Oh, Almighty Hashem, please restore to me health of mind, body and soul. Also, please let me return to Israel while my health allows. Shalom!”
“HaShem, my Redeemer and Sustainer, please allow me stay where I arrived 5 years ago and marry the man whom I will love.”
I also liked those who were very specific:
“That Heather get a good paying safe job.”
And a political wish:
“No October surprises for the American elections….!”
I happen to know the above reader personally, and she is a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, so her wish, I presume, is that the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, not surprise his Opponent just before the elections. But I’m sure there are many Republicans among our readers who are just as petrified of an Obama October surprise.
Another close friend of mine wrote what she wished for:
“A plot of land in the Galilee in which to farm and live in peace and health.”
Probably one of the most touching, specific and open was this one:
“Please guide my granddaughter and make her see that she is worthy of a terrific, white, Jewish young man and not a worthless Black Goy with no future…”
A similar plea:
“A cure for Alzheimer’s and heart disease for my mother; and for my older daughter to return to our faith and not marry a non Jew.”
Another one, just as personal:
“I’m about to marry my first wife for the second time. Please Hashem, help me hold it together this time.”
This one is so simple, we just know it’s coming true this coming year:
“To receive my green card.”
And another one that’s not fooling around:
“Please send me a nice husband! You know what I want and need. Thank you in advance.”
And on a more general level:
“Please ensure that Obama is not re-elected.”
“May God be sure that Obama is reelected.”
And a heartfelt plea on the same topic:
“Please bring some sanity and common sense to those Jews who are voting for Obama.”
Followed by a similarly benign wish:
“Re-election of President Obama, protection of Israel, and the reconciliation of Jews and African-Americans.”
Finally, the most recent wish was entered on Sunday morning:
“Please help me live in the moment.”
Amen to all your wishes. There were many pleas for peace and prosperity and victory over Iran and Messiah (with a few Christian readers sneaking their decidedly un-Jewish wishes, which we decided not to censor because they weren’t aggressively preachy).
A happy and sweet new year from all of us at JewishPress.com.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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