The onset of the new year is traditionally a time for an honest personal reassessment, and a commitment to refocus on our most important priorities. The High Holiday prayers and homilies will offer much inspiration and food for thought in this direction, but I would like to take the moment to examine the Rosh Hashanah Torah readings and Haftorahs, and cull from them an important message.

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah we read from Genesis the story of Isaac's birth. The reading continues with the account of Ishmael's expulsion from Abraham's home when it was discovered that he was violent and a negative role model for Isaac. The Haftorah of this day follows the same theme, discussing the miraculous birth of Samuel to his formerly barren mother, Chana.

Our children are the first and most important frontier in this vital campaignOn the second day of Rosh Hashanah we read about the Binding of Isaac, and conclude with the birth of Rebecca. The Haftorah is a hauntingly beautiful selection from the Book of Jeremiah which talks of G‑d's undying love for his chosen nation, whom He terms as His "most precious son." The Haftorah also contains G‑d's assurance to Rachel, weeping inconsolably for her exiled children: "Your children shall return to their border."

As you may have realized by now, the Torah readings for both days of the holiday, as well as both Haftorahs, share the same theme — children: the great blessing of having children, the importance of educating them properly, and our commitment to their welfare.

To be sure, this is a fitting topic for these days, considering that Rosh Hashanah is the anniversary of the sixth day of Creation, when Adam and Eve were commanded/blessed: "Be fruitful and multiply." Indeed, on that very day they were blessed with their first children—Cain, Abel and their twin sisters.

On a deeper level, Rosh Hashanah is the day when we recommit to the mission we were entrusted with on the day Man was created more than 5700 years ago. The heaven and earth and myriads of creatures were created on the first five days of Creation, but none have the ability to freely choose or reject their Creator. The purpose of Man is to choose to be aware of the Divine reality hidden behind the thick veil of nature, and to promote this awareness throughout Creation by totally utilizing it in the service of G‑d.

This task begins at home. Our children are the first and most important frontier in this vital campaign. Sarah and Chana understood this, and yearned for the privilege of sharing their knowledge of G‑d with future generations. Abraham, appreciating the critical importance of this objective, willingly parted with his eldest son Ishmael in order to ensure the integrity of Isaac's education.

And aside for the importance of this mission on a cosmic level, it also just happens to be the surest path to the child's spiritual fulfillment and consequently his happiness.

On this Rosh Hashanah let us resolve to provide our children with their spiritual needs, and rid our homes of all negative influences which can impede them on their spiritual path. This certainly isn't an easy task for already overworked parents — but the entirety of Creation is watching, hoping that we succeed in our efforts.

May G‑d reciprocate by resolving to grant each and every one of His beloved children a year of happiness, health, prosperity, and true nachas from their children. May we all be inscribed and sealed in the Books of Life and Redemption.