It's hard to believe that Rosh Hashannah is just over a week away. How many of us prepare spiritually as much as we prepare our kitchens and wardrobes?
You can read more of my writing on me-ander and Shiloh Musings. Please do. I post there much more frequently.
Words, Oaths, Hatred and Truth
Not for the first time and certainly not for the last, Dry Bones pegged it 100% correct, right*.
In Judaism, words have powers. If you say you're going to do something, you must do it, because by saying you've made a נדר vow, neder, an oath. To prevent the commitment, we're supposed to preface all of our words with בלי נדר "bli neder," not to be taken as an oath, promise.
In today's world, all sorts of important people and governments have special offices filled with PR public relations experts, master "spinners," who compose fancy statements in the names of their employers to "fix" the "foot in mouth" miss-statements of their bosses/employers. Of course, it's all fiction. Just because someone reads out one of these "little speeches" doesn't mean that anything has changed in the mind of the "guilty." It's just a formula statement to get out of trouble.
Yesterday morning, at Pardess, Rabbi Reuven Grodner taught us about the various levels of vows in his "Rav Soloveitchik on Repentance" course. For each type of vow:
- gross error
- poor judgment
Nullification is a process, not just a superficial recitation of words. Each level demands a different process. It's a "cleansing" like any repentance.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made a terrible mistake when he stated that he's in favor of a Pseudostinian AKA Palestinian sic State. It doesn't matter how he defines that "state" and what limitations he suggests for it. A "state" is a "state." Haggling over details won't save him or us. Bibi must recognize his error in words and judgment. Netanyahu must firmly state that he made a great error. Then he must, in the most public way and place-- yes, the United Nations is the perfect forum-- the Prime Minister of Israel must make it clear that there is only one Nation native to the Holy Land, and that's the Jewish Nation. We have a State of Israel, and it's the only country that has any historic right to be here.
Here we are in the Jewish Month of Elul, the time for תשובה Teshuva, Repentance. One can repent any time of the year, but no doubt that G-d has timed this opportunity for a reason.
right* Why is it that right means correct and is also the side of the political spectrum that sees things most clearly and pragmatically?