Dr. Ronald A. Brauner

One of the fascinating things about this advanced technological age is the proliferation of terms for all sorts of things we never thought about much. Computers, data banks, telecommunications, radio astronomy. . . to our great wonder and amazement, new fields of endeavor, new vocabulary, new jobs perplexities come at us in what seems to be an ever-increasing barrage. And then, Yomtov also comes . . . a time for a bit of quiet reflection, a chance to get off of life's merry-go-round for a short while, a chance to enjoy family and friends . . . a few moments to rediscover life's small pleasures and meanings.

I was thinking. Rosh Hashanah is coming (no matter when you read this, Rosh Hashanah will always be coming) and soon it will be another year. Rosh Hashanah is coming and the most extraordinary global events are swirling around us. I can't help but feel sometimes that world events are just overwhelming and that, in the face of all that's happening, I am disappearing, insignificantly, into the margins of life. After all, with an entire world (and, depending on whom you read, an entire cosmos) in movement and transition and change, just how important anyhow can an individual person be?

Rosh Hashanah is coming and soon it will be a new year. Another year to be lost in the flurry of world events? Another year to be overwhelmed by events larger and greater and more significant than solitary little (!?) me? Another year to spend being pushed aside to the periphery by those greater things that really count? But wait a minute.

All year long I've been seeing the words MACRO and MICRO macrobiotic, microcomputer, microeconomics and macro commands . . . all around me the words are flying fast and furious and I've almost missed the message. With all this talk about MACRO the big picture, the larger view I see there is corresponding mention of MICRO the intense, focused, close-up view and then I begin to understand . . . I begin to see more clearly just what the Rosh Hashanah prayerbook (mahzor for you Hebraically-oriented folks) has been talking's been saying it for a long time, but apparently it's taken until the 20th century to really see it. I learn that the celebration of the New Year cannot really be complete until yomtov has been grasped on both the macro and micro levels. It's in the mahzor that I begin to find the resetting of balance, balance in my perception and balance in my own notion of myself...indeed, the prayerbook is telling me something I just never listened to before . . . it's telling me that reality and wholeness and meaning and celebration are complete only when experienced for their MICRO and MACRO aspects, for the GENERAL and for the SPECIFIC, for the UNIVERSAL and for the PARTICULAR, for the COSMIC and for the PERSONAL, for the WORLD and for ME! Rosh Hashanah reminds me that I need the macro view:

"Today is the birthday of the world. Let us now praise the Lord of all. Let us acclaim the Author of creation . . . He spread out the heavens and founded the earth." and Rosh Hashanah reminds me that for every ALL, there is an EACH:

"On this day we pass before You, one by one, like a flock of sheep. As a shepherd counts his sheep, making each of them pass under his staff, so You review each living being, measuring the years and decreeing the destiny of each creature."

1998, Foundation for Jewish Studies, Inc.