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Making commitments we can keep

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

During the Ten Days of Repentance, between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, it's customary to accept upon ourselves a new commitment. In other words, to make one resolution for improvement in a certain area of life with the determination to stick by it. This can be any little commitment: a resolution regarding ourselves, our family, or our community; a resolution regarding tzedakah, prayer, or learning; a resolution regarding surfing the Internet, time spent on social media, or something else. In this manner, we make sure that all the resolutions we made for the new year do not disappear completely. Some little thing will remain to accompany us as we move forward.

There are commentators who explain that a new commitment for the new year is like a new piece of clothing that we buy - a garment for the body and soul. The commitment needs to be modest and realistic, and not in heaven. It is told that a student once approached his rabbi at the beginning of the year and asked what sort of commitment it would be worthwhile to take upon himself. The rabbi answered: "Think carefully and choose something easy so that you will certainly be able to abide by it all year long." The student returned to his rabbi with an answer, and the rabbi said: "Now divide that commitment in two, and commit to doing only half of it, so that you will definitely succeed in following through with it."

Shana tova and best wishes for making commitments you we keep.


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