"A sacred vow, after all is an effort to unify thought and action, taking the form of the statement, 'I will do what I believe.' And when such an effort fails, the soul finds itself in some degree of darkness." - Rabbi Benjamin Weiner
A vow is a sacred promise that binds our speech, thought and action.
When the vow is broken, the promise unkept, the actions not taken as proscribed -- downheartedness, distress and depression pervades our soul-being.
Living in integrity means doing what you say you will do so that your actions define and mirror your spoken words.
The making of a vow can be a foolish act of instinct or a deep commitment to a sacred purpose. Can we make that differentiation when propelled towards the promise?
My Aunt Faye made a vow in haste and in crisis. It became her sacred purpose.
Her baby son, Evan, was very ill. He hovered between life and death for days.
In an instant, she declared to God: “If you let my son live, I will obey the laws of the Sabbath and the laws of Kashrut.”
Baby Evan lived, and Aunt Faye kept her promise to God in exchange for a healthy son.
Her vow was an offering of gratitude to the Highest Vow-Keeper. She placed her belief side by side with her actions. She never veered from her actions. She binded herself to the spoken vow of her youth.
When the family story was revealed to me as a young girl, my respect for Aunt Faye was engraved on my heart. It was never a sacrifice from which she wanted to unvow. Rather, it became her way of life. The vow became a testament to her integrity not just to the God she called upon in desperation and grief, but it became a measurement of the way she valued her life and her relationships.
Have I ever made a vow that would last a lifetime?