It's the same in any lingo

בַּת-בָּבֶל, הַשְּׁדוּדָה: אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיְשַׁלֶּם-לָךְ-- אֶת-גְּמוּלֵךְ, שֶׁגָּמַלְתּ לָנוּ
אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיֹּאחֵז וְנִפֵּץ אֶת-עֹלָלַיִךְ-- אֶל-הַסָּלַע

How can one be compelled to accept slavery? I simply refuse to do the master's bidding. He may torture me, break my bones to atoms and even kill me. He will then have my dead body, not my obedience. Ultimately, therefore, it is I who am the victor and not he, for he has failed in getting me to do what he wanted done. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? If not now, when? ~ Rav Hillel, Pirke Avot

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes

This Red Sea Pedestrian Stands against Judeophobes
Wear It With Pride

08 October 2008

All Our Vows

Tonight and tomorrow Jews around the world will be in synagogues fasting, praying, and meditating as part of the observance of Yom Kippur; the Day of Atonement.  It is a day when Jews stand before their Creator and say, "Here I am, with all my faults, all my failings, and all the good within me."  It is a day of reflection.  It is a day of self-evaluation.  It is a day that ends in rebirth, a clean slate, an opportunity to start anew and reaffirm ourselves as members of the community.

The 24 hour fast begins with the traditional Kol Nidre service.  Kol Nidre, or All our Vows, is essentially a petition an individual makes between themselves and their Creator asking for release from any personal oaths they make during the year.  Though this may seem like a cop out, as if to say that any vows I make in the coming year I can get out of.  This is a misnomer.  I believe it is really a declaration that we are fuckups, and often set goals for ourselves that we cannot attain, or do not have the character to fulfill.  It is a statement of the character of the individual that decides to look at themselves and honestly decide who they are, what they are capable of, how they can make themselves into what kind of human they want to become over the course of the coming year, and not make any oaths they know they will never fulfill.  Or, in striving to improve their character, make a vow that they break through weakness, or lack of readiness to truly fulfill it.

Oaths made between an individual and another party, or oaths that effect the lives of others do not fall in the category of vows that Kol Nidre addresses.  Oaths between parties must be fulfilled to the best of one's ability out of a legal and spiritual obligation.  I take an oath each year to attempt to improve myself, to stretch my boundaries and grow; to be a better human, to fight against injustice, fascism, and hypocrisy.  It's been a busy year on all fronts.  I have done what I can, but no doubt could have done more.  I will continue to strive to move forward.  I will be successful in some things.  I will fail in others.  I hope I have the wisdom to recognize those things for what they are and learn from them.  That's the best I can hope to do.  

Rabbi Hillel taught that there is only one essential truth at the heart of the Torah: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you/Love thy neighbor as thyself.  In other words; treat people as you wish to be treated.  I try to live my life that way as best as I can, and hope that at the end of the year I've had more successes than failures in that regard.  But I see a corollary to the Golden Rule that, in my current evolutionary state, I employ; you should expect to be treated in kind for the way you treat me.  If you lie to me, do not expect me to trust you.  If you treat me with disrespect, do not expect respect in return.  I wonder if the Pamperbots have figured that out yet?

I have taken another oath this year.  I took a blood oath.  I took a blood oath to stand up for my democracy, to stand up for my country.  I took an oath to fight against those who would disenfranchise us, those who tear down our values and use them for their own gain.  I took an oath to fight against those who use fraud, intimidation, threats, and harassment to gain power.  I took an oath that is not simply between myself.  I took an oath that obligates me to millions of people who stood up and said that we will not, under any circumstances, vote for Barack Obama for President.  I meant it when I made that oath.  I take it as seriously as any other I have made.  I am a PUMA.  I took an oath.  I dare not break it.

There are some among us who will break their oaths.  I have heard of a few.  If I ask my Creator to release me from vows I may make to myself, how can I not release a brother or sister who breaks their oath that they made to me?  And you did make that oath to me PUMAs, just as I made my oath to you.  If you break that oath, I may release you from it, but I am one person.  You made an oath to millions, as did I.  These are difficult times.  Our nation is in peril.  Look around you, you know that's true.  You made a decision to swear to an ideal, a principle that fraud and fascism would not be rewarded; that coup d'etats and attack on democratic values and interests would not be accepted.  If you break your oath then you are complicit, and will stand to be counted with all those that committed the crimes against democracy this past year.

Where do you stand?  What is the worth of your word?  Now would be a good time to take a timeout and decide.

An easy fast to all those fulfilling it, and strength to all who need it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post! It is a time for all of us to look at ourselves and our principals honestly. you're right some have gone back on their word and are now drinking the kool-aide. We cannot help that or them. we can only hope that they realize honestly what they are trading away just to have a D next to their votes.

Never give up, never give in! it's far too important!