Today’s daf (Ketubot 79a) teaches us that in a situation where a couple have money to invest, and one spouse proposes acquiring land and the other proposes buying houses, they it is obvious that they must buy land because it is a more secure purchase. If the decision is between houses and palm trees, they should choose to acquire houses. If the decision is between palm trees or other types of trees, then they should buy palm trees. And if the decision is between regular trees or grapevines, then they should purchase trees. Simply put, in such a situation where they can make an investment, the couple should make thoughtful investments which are most long-lasting and which will not deteriorate over time.
It is this question about the investments that we make – not with our money, but rather with our time and our life – which should be our concern every single day and which is specifically our focus on Rosh Hashanah. Are we making the right choices? Are we thinking long term or short term? And are we making investments not just for now but also for our future?
Admittedly, it is not always clear where to invest and which investment is more likely to have long-term dividends. At the same time, and as our Gemara remarks, there are some investments which – at least when compared to other markets – are פשיטא (obvious).
Personally, I am somebody who sincerely believes that we must wrestle with the complexities of life and that doing so requires that we evaluate the manifold considerations which underlie our various choices. At the same time, many of us overcomplicate things – which then means that we are unable to make significant decisions or changes in our life. True, not everything is simple or obvious. Nevertheless, some things are significantly more obvious than others.
Given this, our focus on Rosh Hashanah should be to carefully consider our life choices. To commit to change in the areas where we know we should. And to pray to God for the clarity that we need to make decisions in the other parts of our life.