When Yom Kippur comes around, I understand that everyone gets into the "moment" of doing Tshuva. Of course, it is a crucial time for us to introspect and come to terms with things we have done or said and make amends for our actions and deeds. But we must be reminded, Yom Kippur is NOT the only day for repentance. It is written that a person should do Tshuva before he dies. Does a person know when he is going to pass away? No! That means we must do Tshuva everyday, every possible moment we can.
A speaker came to my school yesterday to discuss Yom Kippur. He had us all take out a piece of paper and write down the four step process to doing Tshuva.
1. Vidui Peh- admittance of our actions outloud
2. Charata al ha'ever- regret for our actions
3. Kabalah al ha'asid- accepting upon yourself to change
4. Azivas ha'chait- Letting go of our previous actions.
Obviously, the enormity of this list cannot be denied. These are the the very steps that will IYH merit us another year of healthy and happiness.
But then he told us to draw a big X through our written last.
There was an audible gasp. In all my years in school, we had never been told to cross out that list. It is pivotal to our existence! We were almost up in arms with this Rabbi.
And then he really brought us down, to see how unbalanced our perception of this list is.
We can write it down a thousand times. We can know the Hebrew terminology and be able to write it down verbatim, spit it back when asked and quote it whenever. But do we REALLY implicate in our lives? Do we REALLY do Tshuva?
He then went on to explain how we don't need to wait until Yom Kippur. Begin the Tshuva process before. When we come to Yom Kippur, we often feel weighed down by all of the sins we carry with us into Shul. We stand before Hashem, our backs bent, beating our chest in submission. There is a huge block of ice on our backs... but should it really be so heavy? Why not begin to chip away at that ice before Yom Kippur? Why not begin repentance, true tshuva beforehand? If it means a more meritorious judgement, what is stopping us from beating our chests earlier? What is stopping us from going to Hashem on a regular Thursday or Tuesday and saying "Hashem, I made a huge mistake. I am so sorry for what I did. All I desire is to be close with you. Please forgive me for my actions so that I can come to closer to you. It's all I want."
And isn't it in truth? Hashem is our Loving Father. He so badly wants a relationship with us. But when we sin, we drive a wedge between ourselves and Hashem. It builds walls, higher and higher that we only add to unless we take action. Tshuva removes these walls. Tshuva stops bricks from being added to what is blocking us from Hashem. We must take the time now, in these precious few hours before Yom Kippur and do Tshuva. Think about one thing you did wrong... yesterday, this past week, month and year. Go to a quiet place. Talk it out with Hashem. Tell him how badly you want to be close with him and how sorry you are about what you did. And don't just say it. MEAN it.
Come to Yom Kippur a bit lighter, cleansed and ready to show Hashem that you are worthy of being inscribed in the Book of Life.
IYH we should all be judged for a good year full of health and happiness. May we only we of b'suros tovos in Klal Yisroel and all those who need a refua, find one speedily.
Gmar Chasima Tova.