For nine weeks in 1954, Kitty Kallen’s “Little Things Mean A Lot” was the number one song in America. Miss Kallen died last January at 94, but her message endures. Little things do mean a lot, and they can make a difference.
“Secular it is,” would begin the last Bulletin column in December by my Rabbi, Charles A. Annes, of blessed memory, “but I wish all of you fulfillment, joy and meaning in the New Year”
“Secular it is” but whether we are Jewish or not, we can make something Jewish out of it.
“Secular it is” but no matter what our faith, or even if we profess no faith, we can make something more of the beginning of the New Year than just an occasion for revelry.
The contrast between the significance of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the secular New Year is striking.
The Jewish New Year is a time for intense self-examination and introspection. Ideally we prepare for it the entire month before the New Year arrives. We examine our deeds, ask those we have offended for forgiveness and resolve to not repeat our wrongdoings in the year ahead.
Something of that process does reflect itself in the secular custom of “New Year’s Resolutions,” but we can enhance its significance.
The beginning of the secular year is three to four months after Rosh Hashanah. It is a good time to bring ourselves in for a spiritual “tune up.” It is a good time to ask ourselves how we are doing with the “little things.”
Rosh Hashanah celebrates the values in Genesis’ Creation Story.
Most significantly we remember that we are created in God’s image. That does not mean we look like God because no one knows what God looks like.
It does mean that of all the creatures on earth we have the most responsibility. We more than any other being shape this world, physically and morally, for better or for worse.
The beginning of the secular New Year is a perfect time to ask ourselves, how are we doing?
How are we using the powers and abilities with which God has entrusted us? Will the world be better or worse because of what I do in the year ahead?
I have often said: We will not all cure cancer or bring about peace between warring nations. But we all can do the little things that make a difference.
We can be kinder to those we love and to those with whom we interact. We can be more conscious of our impact on the environment. We can be on the lookout for things we can do that will make a positive impact on the lives of others.
Yes, as Kitty Kallen sang so beautifully way back in 1954, “Little Things Mean a Lot.”
“Secular it is” but the new year provides a perfect opportunity to examine the little things we do or don’t do that can help to make ourselves more just, caring and compassionate reflections of “Gods image” than we were last year.