Rosh HaShana, often referred to as the Jewish New Year, begins in a little more than 24 hours. I don't know about you, but I can't say that much has changed for me since last year. I am in the same job, same house and have the same flaws I had at this time last year, with possibly a few new ones thrown in for good measure. What reason do I have to believe that this year will be different? How can I stand before G-d and declare that I am willing to change, when the past year screams the exact opposite?
As a running junkie, I often preach with the zeal of the convert. It is not enough for me to be running, I want everyone else joining in. Often when I encourage those who are out of shape to try, I am turned down with a self-mocking comment. Something like "I can't even run a block". They are right you know. When I started, I couldn't either. I had tried to lose weight before with, at best temporary success. I had tried to exercise. Why would this time be different?
I could give all sorts of reasons why I was successful when I was, but I am not sure they would be correct. Bottom line is, I decided to hope against hope. To try when my track record told me that I would fail. To dream that things could be different.
That, I believe is what Rosh HaShana is about. A willingness to believe that I can be the kind of person I want to be. To undo some bad decisions I have made. It will be hard. Everyone, including me, has made peace with the imperfect me. Maybe things can be different. Maybe I can go back. Maybe it's not to late. Maybe this year will be different.