Recently, my supervisor at my workplace, asked me what “Shana Tova” means. She is a Christian, but – living in Southern California – is familiar with Jewish terminology. Often she asks me to explain certain words, phrases or customs. I told her that it means “Good Year” literally, but is the equivalent of “Happy New Year.” She smiled and said, “May you have a good and happy new year!” And then I told her about “Shana Tova U’Metuka” which means “Good and Sweet Year!” She agreed that all are good to have: good, sweet, happy. It’s all good!!
Which reminds me of how many ways one can wish blessings to others at this time of year. Some say, “gut gebentched yahr” (German/Yiddish for a “good and blessed year”). Others list all the different areas in life one is to be blessed: health, livelihood, success, etc. In Hebrew/Yiddish it somehow sounds much better:
Gezunt (health), Parnassah (livelihood), Hatzlacha (success), Brachos (blessings), Mazel (fortune), Nachas (pride/pleasure).
I could get carried away giving (and receiving) blessings. It makes me feel good to spread warmth and good cheer around, especially at this time of year. And writing this post, I could probably list more languages, customs, and styles in various cultures here (in Hawaii they say “Shaloha!” for Shalom/Aloha!”).
But then this post will be way too long.
So instead, I will end with a mini-blessing: whatever the language, whatever the style – may we all have a good, happy, sweet, healthy, fulfilling, blessed New Year!