How Can Something So Worn Become New Again?

This High Holiday Message was written by Adrian (Aharon) Muller, co-Treasurer of CAJE and past President of the RASG Hebrew Academy.

The Day of Judgment evokes very ominous feelings. We approach it bewildered and unsure how one day can be so different from others. 

How does this day enable us to reach back in time to atone for sins? Why is it uniquely imbued with the power to preordain events for the year ahead? 

Like many times before, I try to summon the courage and inspiration to leverage the power of the moment and infuse it into my own life and destiny. 

The effort becomes more difficult with the passage of time. Is the difficulty that the reservoir for self-renewal feels strained from multiple (and sometimes failed) attempts to draw from its source?

Perhaps I am just questioning how many times I can show up before the Creator of the Universe with my little bundle of dirty laundry, full of promises that may be attenuated by past failure. 

Can the stubborn stains after all this washing go through another cycle without fraying the fabric? How can something that is so worn become new again?

My eagerness for a solution is the reason for reaching out to you in this (for me) unusual communication. I can’t see myself doing this alone. Only when I picture myself standing next to my friends, family, community, and the well-meaning people of the nations can I summon up hope.

In fact, on the High Holy Days, we are all standing together with our own little bundles of dirty laundry, regrets, broken promises, and disappointments — unified by similar hopes for a new start and a better day. If that is to happen, we need each other as much as we need the Almighty.

On my own, I am just another petitioner, another justifier, another voice asking for one more chance. Together, we realize that we are all flawed, but in community, we can support one another and strive together for a new outcome.

So here is a resolution I’d like to make and hope to keep: To forgive, empathize and have compassion on others as I hope the Almighty will have towards me and my loved ones -- all of us.

The feeling resonated for me in the last of our Torah readings (Parashat Nitzavim) last week-- the section in which we all stand together before our Creator today and every day until the ultimate redemption.

I hope that like me, you too are moved to feel gratitude that you have friends, family, and a community to stand with as we entrust ourselves to our Creator for a sweet and blessed year.

Shabbat Shalom
Wishing You an Easy but Meaningful Fast on Yom Kippur! 


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