My brother, Michael, is a scientist (i.e. hematologist-oncologist on faculty at UCLA Medical Center). He accepts truth when empirical evidence is clear. However, he also knows that no matter how much we may think we know, we never have all the information necessary to make categorical statements about objective truth.

He recently wrote the following to me:

“I often marvel at how improbable we all are as humans. There had to be the creation of the universe, then the stars and planets. There had to be an Earth with perfect conditions ripe for life, then enough time for natural selection to create the diversity of life we know. As humankind, we are merely one invention of this process. And as individuals, who are so dependent on both nature and nurture for who we are, each of us is the improbable union of one particular egg and one particular sperm raised in a particular environment by two particular parents. How improbable and unique can you get? Mind boggling!”

Henry Miller wrote the following relative to the truth my brother articulated above:

“Let each one turn his gaze inward and regard himself with awe and wonder, with mystery and reverence; let each one work her own influence, her own havoc, her own miracles.”

This is the nature of this High Holiday season. We are dynamic beings, just as the natural world is dynamic, and we are capable of changing and climbing out of and moving from the holes into which we’ve fallen and become stuck, if only we have the will and the clarity of mind, heart, and spirit to do so.

May it be such for each of us in this New Year 5775.

May Israel and the Palestinians strive to find a better way to live side by side in mutual respect, in peace and in security.

May the forces for good destroy ISIS and defeat all those who would destroy innocent human life and thereby save human lives (I pray specifically in these days for the well-being of Kurdish Muslims of Syria).

These are my most fervent New Year’s hopes. To attain them, it will take us all, decent people who regard every human being as the infinite embodiment of God’s creative and loving will.

L’shanah tovah u-m’tu-kah u-v’ri-yah l’chul’chem u-l’mish’patch’chem u-l’chol y’di-dei-chem!