I remember a conversation about Yom Kippur with an elderly jew from Minsk during the year we spent there helping to revive the Jewish community in 1989.

In His broken english he kept on asking me about the ceremony of “annulling dee wows”.. It had taken me a second to figure out that he was referring to KOL NIDRE!

I’m reminded of him as I steal a few precious moments of solitude pre KOL NIDRE 2014.

The North Shore feels different the last few days. Even the normally docile Swampscott waves seem unusually frisky. Perhaps this is what the Rebbe’s meant when they talked about “a Teshuva Vint Blazst”- a Teshuvah wind is blowing …

The sudden wind, gusts its renewal announcement out to a world eager for its message of hope and promise. The yellowing leaves chime in as well, combining together for this important broadcast.

Collaboratively, they perform their joyous awakening song. They remind us to let go of the addictive “vows,” emboldening us to finally release our ties to the destructive behavior patterns that imprison us — extinguishing our holy fire, again and again, separating us painfully from from our higher truths.

The raw beauty of the shifting season is G-ds way of alerting us, wowing us back up to the high planes of our mindfulness, where we can wholeheartedly re- embrace our dusty, abandoned truths.

My friend from Minsk was right. We must remain open to the Majestic beauty that fills all of life, both within and without. We must continue to be receptive to the abundance of all those blessings that we already have.

My friend from Minsk, while wandering around searching for his hijacked soul like the rest of his Glasnost generation, stumbled onto this sublime realization.

The secret to succesfully annulling those vows in our lives that need annulling, lies in our ability to continue to “RENEW our WOWS.”