What is so special about a birthday? Why do people celebrate each year the day they were born? Is it perhaps an achievement that you have survived one more year in this world? I can entertain the thought that when one reaches their nineties, each subsequent year is a major achievement. But what greatness is there in a 15th, 30th or even a 60th birthday? Yet there is something special and unique about completing another year of life.

I think a birthday is special because it is a time to reflect and give thanks. A time to plan ahead. It is a time to reflect on what has transpired in the year that has passed. To consider what achievements one accomplished and perhaps to acknowledge what mistakes were made during the year. I believe a person should take time out on his birthday to think about these points and to really dig deep and process the year that has passed.

In terms of thanksgiving we need to thank  the One Above who has granted us another year in this beautiful world. Thank should also be extended to family and friends for their love and support. Thanks to those who are involved in our lives, whether through our jobs, socially or even just the local postie! It is a time to say those 2 words “thank you” over and over again, but really mean it!

In terms of planning ahead it is an opportunity to set new goals and accomplishments for yourself. It is a time to make sure that the friend or relative, who you have been planning to call, actually happens. And of course, a time to increase the connection with your spiritual side, and make extra time for your soul. Perhaps try listening to a Shiur, do a Mitzvah or anything that you feel that can strengthen your bond with the One Above.

I mention all this today because we just celebrated the modern State of Israel’s 72nd birthday. I think all the principles mentioned above should be applied to Israel’s birthday too. Reflect, thank and commit. Reflect on your relationship with Israel. The positives and negatives. Thank Hashem for giving us this gift. Commit to improving and strengthening your connection to our Holy Land .Take time to think through these items and how you can really enhance your connection with Israel!

Please join me this Friday to mark this occasion for a Pre-Shabbat Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut (details below).

Am Yisrael Chai!

Wishing you a beautiful Shabbat and weekend ahead!

Rabbi Daniel & Rebbetzin Sarah Rabin

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