My First Rosh Hashanah as an Israeli was spent alone
I took my dog for a quick walk and heard the mixture of sounds, which represent the mixed multitude of our people.
I heard the chanting of liturgy in several different synagogues. Some harmonize beautifully, while other congregations sound like chaos.
I heard families singing and laughing.
I heard children playing.
I could smell food from the houses.
I could smell weed drifting from my neighbors.
I decided to spend the day reading and researching as I always do because that is who I am.
I realized this time was meant for introspection. In fact, tonight is when we annul vows we made to ourselves. It is very personal- it is not yet time to annul the vows we made to others.
The promises we made ourselves under duress or perhaps in a sever manner that was not meant to be, is something we reconcile and are absolved from.
What did I promise myself that I should not have?
I don’t know.
I set goals, but that is not the same as a promise or a vow.
I did make vows to others, but that is not what this night is for.
Why don’t I make vows to myself anyway? It is not forbidden.
Goals are about ambition, aspiration and a purpose of hope.
I like this very much and set goals every year. I also achieve my goals.
Yet why no promises? Do I promise anyone anything? Ever?
…My Gd no. I really don’t. Why?
I do not promise to love anyone.
I do not promise to avenge anyone.
I do not promise loyalty, or monetary support. Neither do I promise myself to anyone or a particular attribute that I posses.
I just am. I give what I can and am rather noncommittal when it comes right down to it.
I dislike promises. What if something happens that causes you to break that promise? Sometimes matters are out of our realm of control. I would only commit to something if I knew I could control it in its entirety.
What exactly can I control in its entirety?
I suppose everything is subject to the universe.
Perhaps promises can only be made by that which is supernatural?
The sun promises to rise and set everyday.
The moon promises to come out and show her face in the darkness.
The tide promises to pull the ocean away from the land.
These things are true and these things are unchanging. This is The One.
This is the Universe. This is HaShem.
I am not divine. I cannot promise anything. I am mortal and fallible.
I never promised my daughter I would always love her unconditionally, but that’s because I am her mother and that’s what mother’s do. It is involuntary. I never consciously chose to love her this way, I simply do.
My dog loves me unconditionally, but that’s because she is my creature and I am her human, she doesn’t think about it, it simply is.
And so it goes like this:
Could it be that we only get a glimpse of the essence of the unpronounceable One through parenting and having a dog?
Dog is God spelled backwards.
Parents create life.
Yes, having dogs and children.
It just is.