Be Grateful

First and foremost, a birthday is a day to feel grateful. It's a day for parents to be grateful to G‑d for the precious gift He granted them. A day for the Jewish nation to be grateful for the addition of a new member of the nation-family. And, of course, it is a day for the birthday celebrant to express gratitude to G‑d for the gift of life.

This is the day when you were given the mandate to change the world. The day when G‑d entrusted you with the mission to challenge a world that is hostile to spirituality and transform it into G‑d's private sanctum. And in accomplishing this goal, you, too, were given the ability to achieve incredible spiritual heights—heights unimaginable to the soul before it was dispatched from its lofty heavenly abode to inhabit a physical body.

Celebrating a birthday is also a demonstration of confidenceCelebrating a birthday is thus also a demonstration of confidence. Confidence that you are and will continue to be worthy of G‑d's trust. No matter the obstacles, you will persevere and live up to G‑d's expectations of you.

This day takes on additional significance if you are above the age of bar or bat mitzvah. The word "mitzvah" means commandments, but is also related to the word "tzaveta," which means "connection." Fulfilling G‑d's commandments is the vehicle through which we connect to G‑d. Until bar and bat mitzvah, mitzvot are primarily an educational experience—the commandment element kicking in upon adulthood. That means greater responsibility, but an infinitely greater connection, too. Your birthday is also the anniversary of that momentous occasion. Another reason to be grateful...

Déjà Vu

Time is like a spiral. Annually, on the anniversary of any momentous event, we have the ability to tap into the same spiritual energy that originally caused that event (hence the concept of Jewish holidays).

When you were born, G‑d invested within you a soul abounding with talents and qualities. Your mazel was shining and at full strength. That same energy is present once again every year on the anniversary of that date. On this day you have the ability to accomplish that which would perhaps be very difficult on another day.

Rosh Hashanah is so special because it is the birthday of humankind—it is the day when Adam and Eve were created. Your birthday is your personal Rosh Hashanah—utilize it to its utmost!