It's almost Rosh HaShana. We're already cooking, already preparing our homes. We've invited guests.
We're looking forward to a very happy and healthy year to come. But at the back of our minds, we know that next year hangs in the balance.
Rosh HaShana is an unimaginable time. We focus so hard on davening and improving ourselves because we know this is our opportunity to affect the decree for good. When the books of life and death sit open before G-d, we're motivated to be on our best behaviour.
However, what happens after Rosh HaShana? What happens in a month, or two, or six? Where go our repentance, our resolution, and our prayers? The answer to this question lies in what we do with Rosh HaShana, and for what we use it.
Rosh HaShana is an external motivator. We come to the day hoping to improve ourselves to improve the coming judgement. However, the day's goal is to be internalised. We hope that the experience of Rosh HaShana, the davening, the shofar, the drashot, and the entire vibe of those two days translates into something internal and more lasting. Only through internal motivation can we fundamentally change ourselves for the better.
This week we read about how Hashem declared us to be his nation to give us glory. Ramban explained that this has two meanings. In the first instance, it will mean others will praise us for our diligence. However, its true meaning is that "the G-d of Israel is your glory". Hashem gave us both internal and external motivation. People will admire our dedication and integrity in pursuing our duties, but our actual praiseworthy trait is our relationship with Him. May Rosh HaShana provide us with that motivation for all of the following year.