I would love to make this deadline, but I've got much more important things to do.In less than three weeks I have to stand before the Creator of all that is and justify my existence. He's the one who is paying the bills, He writes the checks. If I don't satisfy Him, I won't be able to make ends meet. On the other hand, if He's happy with me, I'm on easy street. You could fire me, and I wouldn't even notice.I have to start working on myself.Sounds ridiculous to you?Sounds ridiculous to me too.. that's my problem.In eighteen days I have to stand before the King of Kings, and I'm affraid I'll just be standing in synagogue, almost completely unaware of my current situation.Can you imagine, being judged by the King and being so oblivious as to not know what is going on?What chance do I have if I can't speak in my own defense? I'll be like someone showing up to court drunk.Thank God He's merciful and graceful, exceedingly patient, infinitely kind and truthful, looks out for the good of all, overlooks transgression, crime, and sin and cleanses all.*I'm only going to get off because He'll let me off; but shouldn't I at least put in the effort?Wouldn't it be nice if I could be present for my judgement, maybe thank HaShem profusely for his infinite mercies?
Anyways, that's the way the conversation should go. But of course I won't say it. Year after year, this is what we go through, and we don't say these things, we don't take a month off to prepare (which by the way is the whole purpose of this month of Elul) to take stock, and to get to know God in a personal way. In the month of Elul we say the King is in the field -- He's around, get to know Him, so that when He sits on His lofty throne come Rosh HaShanah, we'll have a clue who it is we're standing before.
He's also our father, so we know even if He doesn't go easy on us, it's all for our own good. But Still. There are babies, who are all but unaware of the existence of their parents, and then there are children who know and recognize their parents, who take great pleasure in the attention afforded them, who want nothing more than to show off a new project or bring home a pleasing report card.
There are even young adults whose successes in the real world are even more precious in their parents' eyes.
And then there are those children who have grown, and wed, and birthed, and brought home grandchildren for their parents' pleasure.
Our mitzwoth are referred to as our children. When we do mitzwoth, real mitzwoth, the kind of mitzwoth that we meant to do, that we rushed to do, that we were overbrimming with joy to do, these mitzwoth are as alive as children. They have a body (the action) and a soul. (the intent)
When we come before HaShem in eighteen days, we don't (really) have to be worried whether or not we will get a favorable judge or a merciful jury, but what if Rosh HaShanah could be like bringing your kids home for a visit with their Grandfather??
That's what it really means to be inscribed in the book of life.
* this is my own translation of the 13 attributes of mercy