I subscribe to two on-line comic syndicates: King Features and GoComics. I subscribed when we were living in New York City because the
New York Times
doesn't have comics. I have served as the Parliamentarian of the Rabbinical Assembly for about 20 years. What do these pieces of information have in common? Resolutions! New Year's resolutions were the subject of about one-third of all the comic strips
and Tuesday this week. Resolutions are, as well, where the bulk of my time as Parliamentarian are devoted.
While New Year's Resolutions in the comics tend to focus on "How long until I fail?" Rabbinical Assembly resolutions actually have an important role. When a public-policy person calls to ask, "What do the rabbis think about ...?" Resolutions provide the information; we have official stands from the hazards of smoking to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Some things I've learned about resolutions through the years.
Resolutions have to be within one's authority. I can resolve not to fire ballistic missiles at other countries, but that's useless because that is beyond my authority. But I can resolve to keep my cool when things get tough, i.e., not to "go ballistic."
Resolutions have to be personally focused and within one's ability. I
t would be useless to resolve that there should not be snow and ice on the road. I
can resolve to be a better driver on snow and ice.
Resolutions have to be positive. One does not resolve in the negative; rather one resolves to do something. I could resolve not to follow fake news but a better resolution is to check facts for myself.
The failure rate of new year's resolutions is somewhere around 80%, which is a pretty daunting figure. But if we resolve to follow those lessons of resolutions and keep our plans reasoned and reasonable, we can surpass the 20% success rate. That you won't find in the funny papers.
- This week is casual [formerly known as sweatshirt] Shabbat. Come warm and comfortable to services.
- Pause Button this week: We continue our study in memory of Rabbi Neil Gillman, this week about core beliefs reflected in the Amidah.
- Weather: if the county sheriff says 'no travel,' services are canceled.