Is the Universe alive? The Sages see it as pulsating with spiritual energy. The 'pulse' is the rhythm of Divine life-force which continuously recreates everything that exists. The Sages speak of this as a flow of energy emanating from G‑d Who is infinitely beyond the universe. The spiritual energy gives life to everything there is - to the galaxies, the solar system, our planet earth, every animal or bird, each leaf and every tiny grain of sand - keeping it all in existence.

This Chassidic teaching helps us understand the concept of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year. The life-force is not a constant unchanging flow; it is a pulse. So at Rosh Hashanah, the anniversary of Creation, there is a new burst of life-force coming from G‑d to the world. The Sages tell us that each year this flow comes from a higher level of holiness than even before. In spiritual terms each new year is therefore truly 'New'. There are new possibilities, new unexplored potential.

What is the role of the Jew in this process?

Jewish teaching tells us that existence has a spiritual purpose: to create a dwelling for G‑dliness in our world. This means: to make the details of life express and mirror the holiness of G‑d. The Jewish people have been given the responsibility to try to make this happen. The teachings of the Torah guide the Jewish people, and ultimately all humanity to live in such a way that goodness and holiness can be expressed in their lives.

Rosh Hashanah is the time when each Jewish man, woman and child remembers this task. We turn to G‑d with deep feeling and rededicate ourselves to Him. We will be His people, and He will be our G‑d. In the new world of the New Year, we will try to fulfill our sacred task; at the same time we ask G‑d to grant us everything we need in order to do so with joy and happiness.

May the new flow of life this Rosh Hashanah bring peace, sweetness, light, health and prosperity to the entire Jewish people, in Israel and throughout the world. And may the well being of the Jewish nation lead to peace and joy throughout humanity, at last fulfilling the goal of Creation.