The prime minister of Israel and the president of the United States are in a meeting in Washington, D.C. The prime minister notices an unusually fancy phone on a side table in the president’s private chambers.

“What is that phone for?” he asks.

“It’s my direct line to G‑d.”

The president insists that the prime minister try it out, and indeed he is connected to G‑d. The prime minister holds a lengthy discussion with Him.

AfterI think of G‑d as within earshot’s distance of my whispering lips hanging up, the prime minister says, “Thank you very much. I want to pay for my phone charges.” The president, of course, refuses. The prime minister is steadfast, and finally the president gives in. He checks the counter on the phone and says: “All right, the charges are $100,000.” The prime minister gladly signs a check.

A few months later, the president is in Jerusalem on an official visit. In the prime minister’s chambers he sees a phone identical to his, and learns it also is a direct line to G‑d. The president remembers he has an urgent matter, and asks if he can use the phone. The prime minister gladly agrees, hands him the phone, and the president chats away.

After hanging up, the president offers to pay for the phone charges. The prime minister looks at the phone counter and says: “One shekel.” The president looks surprised: “Why so cheap?”

The prime minister smiles: “Local call.”

On Rosh Hashanah, I think of G‑d as within earshot’s distance of my whispering lips. These thoughts help elicit a more authentic prayer from me.

It is not by coincidence that the reading of Haazinu, the portion that is always read in proximity to the High Holy Days, explains our connection to G‑d as that of being bound by rope! Deutoronomy 32:9 reads: “Because G‑d’s portion is His people; Jacob is the rope of His inheritance.”

The analogy of a rope, whose upper end is bound above and the lower below, is compared to the soul, where the upper end is bound above and the lower end is enclothed in the body, explains Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi in the Tanya.

There are many profound implications, and lessons, of the rope imagery described in Haazinu:

a) Just as a rope is comprised of many strands, our relationship with G‑d is multifaceted, multisensory, and its complexity is what gives it strength.

b) Each Everything I do affects G‑dof the 613 mitzvot is a thread of a greater rope that keeps us intensely connected to G‑d. Unfortunately, neglecting a mitzvah causes some strands to disconnect and the entire rope to weaken.

c) A tug on the bottom of a rope will bring down the top of the rope, too. The implication is that everything I do affects G‑d Himself. He is the other end of my rope. When I fall, I drag Him down.

Now, that last note is a frightening thought. It makes G‑d seem vulnerable. But according to Kabbalah, G‑d apportioned some of His creative life force to holy creations, called kedushah; and some of those powers he “threw down over His back” to vitalize the currents that run antithetical to Him, the sitra achara. When I use my G‑d-given energy to behave inappropriately, I am actually re-appropriating G‑d’s life force by transferring the holy energy invested in me to the realm of sitra achara.

And finally:

d) G‑d is with us even when we have fallen. The rope ensures that we are never in crisis alone. Just like a parent who sits compassionately with a filthy child, G‑d is pained by our struggles and eagerly awaits our return to Him.