On an almost daily basis, we hear about promising vaccines to help in our fight against Covid-19. These words encourage many of us and give us something to hold onto as we continue to wash our hands, put on our masks and isolate ourselves from people we love.
Recently, we’ve begun hearing more and more about the coming of Rosh Hashanah, our New Year, and the promise it holds for us all. And, just a few days ago, my daughter was married and made promises under the chuppah.
What is a promise? The word is defined as a declaration or an assurance that someone will do something or that something in particular will happen. A promise guarantees, but is everything promised guaranteed? Is it assured that a vaccine will show up soon or that the New Year will offer all we hope it will or that both newlyweds will always be kind, thoughtful and loving?
Each of us has to do our part to make such things happen. We can pray, but G-d needs our help, too. Intentions are great, as are our hopes, dreams and plans, but there’s plenty of work in the trenches that must be done for vaccines to materialize, for a marriage to be successful and for the New Year to be one of peace and plenty.
Unfortunately, no script exists to dictate our every action. The Torah lays out moral codes and the injunctions to be kind, forgiving, generous and loving and to treat others as we would want to be treated. But, how we put each of these into play is unique to each person. It’s up to us, all of us and each of us, to practice kindness, forgiveness, generosity and loving in the best and most meaningful ways we know how.
We can support medical, social, justice and educational institutions in myriad ways and be there for the brides and grooms in our midst. And we can do our parts to bring peace, joy and prosperity to our neighbors so that the year 5781 fulfills all the promise it holds.
May the New Year be filled with good health, happiness and peace for each of you and those you love and may we celebrate the fulfillment of promises together—in the same room—before Rosh Hashanah comes again.