Tomorrow is my birthday.

Since there are so many things I like to do on my special day, I now give myself two days to celebrate. Isn't that a great idea? On my actual birthday, an auspicious time when my good fortune is dominant, I concentrate on connecting to my Creator — praying, doing good deeds, reflecting on the past and making new resolutions for the future. The day after, I take time out to do fun things. This way I am not pressured to cram everything into one day. And besides, I get to eat birthday cake two days in a row.

I like birthdays. I'm sorry for those who don't. A couple of weeks ago, a friend had her birthday. "How old?" I asked her.

"Oh, too old," she said without a smile. "Forty."

"Forty?" I questioned, "That is wonderful!"

She didn't understand. She didn't see it as such, she thinks it's old. I don't get it. What's the crime in getting old? (Not that forty is old. Ask any seventy-year old, I'm sure they'll agree.) Forty is an enviable milestone. I tried telling her what the Mishnah says about that age: "At forty, you gain understanding." You can now grasp things in a different way. It takes forty years for this to develop and you now are there. I think that's pretty special.

When I turned forty, I felt good, accomplished. I treated myself to some luxuries— an expensive piece of jewelry. And a doughnut. I was a V.I.P. And, of course, I took the Mishnah's promise that I would be smarter very seriously.

And listen to how brilliant I am now as I write up a wish list to G‑d for my upcoming birthday.

Dear G‑d,
Tomorrow is my birthday (which I'm sure you know). I had a long, drawn out wish list all made up for You. It contained blessings for all my children, grandchildren and relatives. My wish list spanned the material and the spiritual, from the heaven to the earth. From health to wealth, from A to Z, for all of Israel. Then I thought: why limit myself? I might as well ask for the ultimate.

Here then is my wish list for the coming year: Shine Your bright light, so we can see You in Your full glory. Redeem us, Your nation, Your people.

Yes, You and I can argue back and forth. You may say I am not worthy. And I will complain to You that I did the best I could with the tools I was given. You may argue that I should have tried harder. I will tell You, what do you expect when you made me so weak? You can ask me why I didn't follow the right path all the time. I will respond, how could I have when the road was so dark? Dear G‑d, whatever issue you may have with me, I will be ready with a convincing counter (my mom always said I would be a good lawyer).

Let's face it, G‑d, or can I call you Father? For generations and generations, the Jewish nation, Your children, has suffered enough. Don't You think? Don't You think we deserve our reward by now? Don't You think it is time to remove the curtains and allow us to see Your light? Well, I do. Along with ALL Your children. Amen! And Thank You.

Time now to decide on my gift. either I buy it myself, or have the children buy it for me, and everybody is happy. Oh, and let's not forget the cake. After all, what's a birthday without cake!?

Happy birthday to me. It's going to be a great year!