Today is a day of Awe because today is a day on which we perform the miracle of changing the past. Submitting to the shofar, surrendering to the tefilla, we look backwards. And yes, initially, looking into the past is painful, is embarrassing, and it generates irremediable regret. But it is from here that we change the past, that we can transform events that had no redeeming quality whatsoever at the time, into engines of change, into events that wind up marking a dividing line between an old , regrettable pattern, and a new sanctified pattern. From events simply buried in the past, to events that shape every day of our future. On this day, we have the opportunity to take last year with all its warts, and through our process of review and resolution, to transform it retroactively into a shana tova. A good year, a year that turned out to be a source of blessing for the coming year, and for all the years beyond.
Today, our greeting to one another, our wish and prayer for one another is that we each be able to gather up the wisdom that came our way between last Rosh haShana and this, and be able to change the character of last year; to be able to embrace even a hard year as in at least certain ways, having been a shana tova. For saving a year of one’s life, is a no small thing.