I love hosting parties. It’s the after-party that I don’t like. The scratched floor, the broken glass courtesy of the guest’s kid, the piles of dishes to wash and put away, and the general wear and tear that hosting engenders.

But my husband puts hosting into perspective for me. “The reason we have this living room, and these dishes, and this space that we worked so hard to get is to have the ability to host! Why else did we work so hard to set up a dining room that can seat so many more people than our family. And why else did we pray to have the ability to be on the giving end? To keep our home in museum-like condition??”

In the haftorah reading for Rosh Hashanah, we read of Chana, mother of the prophet Samuel, praying in the House of G‑d. Eli, the priest, saw her praying at length for a child and reprimanded her. “Chana, why are you wrapped up in your personal needs while standing in G‑d’s presence? Are you like a drunkard, not aware of where you are?”

Chana responded, “I am pouring my heart out to G‑d”—”for G‑d”! I am not making a personal request, but a purposeful one. If G‑d grants me a child, it is not to satisfy my own needs, but for me to accomplish my mission and serve G‑d by devoting my child to G‑d all his days.1

And indeed, even on Rosh Hashanah, everything I ask G‑d for, as mundane as it may seem, can be used to serve Him and to benefit other people.

Thoughtstream: Today, I will remember that what I own is for a higher purpose, and that what I ask for should reflect that purpose.

(Adapted from Shaarei Moadim, Rosh Hashanah, p.300.)