Turning the Clock Back

What do you regret most in your life?

Comments (50)

(41) rod rigo vallescas, October 23, 2012 7:59 AM


(40) Anonymous, May 31, 2011 8:21 AM

I Cannot Erase the Past

Thank you Rabbi Saloman for this video. I’m sure it brings much hope to many who view it. My biggest regret is in a series of actions I got involved in over a total of 7 years. My family had some difficult times in relation to my elder sister and after some years it was diagnosed that she was suffering from schizophrenia that had gradually creped in. During the times of these difficulties I was in my teens and later university. Things got worst immediately after graduating and although I was brought up in a family with religion, I began to be angry and lose faith in HaShem… Then I started living a double life. I was the good boy at home, at work and with friends. But on the flip side I was indulging in pornography which slowly led to promiscuity and worse. Early last year I made a conscious decision to stop these things and to recommit myself to HaShem. The road has not been easy and many times I have fallen and still fall. Yet I draw strength from the Almighty and come to accept the people around me for whom they are, accept the situations life presents and try to live a righteous life. The difficult part is to live with the knowledge that you can’t erase what you have done but make atonement for it. It scares me that if I’m ever blessed to find my beshert I’ll have to be upfront about myself and my past (that’s tough considering I live in the East where our society is more conservative) SHALOM

(39) Anonymous, April 27, 2011 1:00 PM


I cannot forgive myself for being involved with a married man who had three children at the time and one on the way. I was also married at the time to a man who had a jealous, controlling nature. Being easily convinced, I became involved with the other man, who eventually became my second husband, I cannot forgive myself for the anguish I must have caused to that woman. I torture myself until this day with not being able to forgive myself. I did have a child with this man and I am still in touch with him periodically because of the child, who is now a young woman with a child of her own. Thankfully, the first wife has actually forgiven me and so have her grown children. They are very close and good to my daughter and consider her their sister, not just a half-sister. We all have a good relationship. The father of these 5 kids, now all adults, eventually divorced me after a marriage of 5 years, and is now married to his 4th wife. He is a good person and he did provide for his children and ex-wives. Now that he is much older, I think he has finally settled with his wife now of 13 years. I feel that I am the one who cannot get over this horrible sin. I muse also tell you that I have been raised a Christian but over the past year, I am reading more about Judaism and I have a strong connection to your beliefs. Even if GOD has forgiven me, I can't get this out of my mind and I am sure I will live with this guilt until my last day on this earth. It is a shameful thing that I did and I am TRULY sorry for not being a better person to have walked away at the time.

(38) Anonymous, April 18, 2011 5:39 PM

converting too late

Born to Christian parents and raised in that faith, I was drawn to Judaism starting at age 9. I put off converting for one reason and another over 3 decades. The best time would have been after a divorce in my early thirties, but I met and fell in love with a Lutheran. I put it off some more, finally giving up and admitting that Christianity was not for me AFTER our children were born. Two Reform rabbis and a Conservative rabbi encouraged and led me to convert anyway after a year of study. The impact on the children has been vaguely confusing because every religion is ultimately exclusive. I have never kidded myself into believing that I am a righteous convert. I also recognize that even without a formal conversion, my husband and I would be "intermarried" because I cannot embrace the core tenets of Christianity. Pretending would have been deceitful and perhaps more harmful. For all my regret of the difficulty my action has caused, there has actually been much good fruit. Without being conceited, I can honestly say that my husband has evolved into better man for the Jewish influence in his household, and he certainly has been a good influence for me in the pursuit of womanhood. I cannot undo, nor does he want me to. We will move forward with more open conversation. We are making it work for us, but I would never recommend intermarriage.

(37) Charles Goldgeier, April 7, 2011 6:19 PM

My youngest son

B"H Dear Rabbi Salomon: My biggest regret was that was not the compassionate and good father I should have been toward my youngest son. Now that he is 39 years of age, it is too late to recapture his early years. My youngest son is now quite emotionally distant from me. He does not share his life (joys, hopes, dreams, problems, difficulties etc.) with me or his mother. The unfortunate situation I find myself is tragically his older brother was killed in a car accident 9 years ago. He is now our only son and we are not close like parents and child should be. I am grateful for your videos and wish you and your family good health and a meaningul Passover. Shalom, Charles Goldgeier

(36) Debbie, April 7, 2011 3:52 AM

visited my grandfather in the hospital

I regret not running down to Florida when my grandfather had surgery so I could be there to comfort him. Unfortunately I never saw him again. I won't beat myself up over it, but it still makes me sad.

(35) SusanE, April 7, 2011 3:39 AM

I Wish I had Known Better Then.

Many regrets can be changed into something positive. You wish you had been nicer to your parents. Well, go and be nicer to them. If they have died, then go and be nicer to someone elses parents. Give to your local senior centers in your parents memory. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Most regrets can be balanced by what you do today. Regret you didn't further your education when you were young? Then give financial support to help a young adult get their education so they don't have the same regrets. These type of things I have already changed through the years and am now fine with. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My biggest regret is that I once thought progress and industry, and technology, and forward moving science and medicine... was a good thing. I regret going along with the crowd in thinking that old-fashioned ways were for people who weren't progressive. I was in my mid-50's before I figured out that those very things I thought were good for the peoples of the world, are what is threatening my childrens healthy existence. My grandparents were healthy and active until the day they died. Never needing walk aids, didn't need numerous drugs, they were slim, and had no dementia. I regret not living my life as simply as theirs. ~~~~~~~~~~~ So.... now I speak out about and give my support to environmental causes. To organic food growers. Pet shelters. Food pantries. ~~~~~~~~~~ I protest breaking up the Earth, and I protest dirty energy. I protest chemical companies including some drug companies. I don't know if I make a difference in the running of the world but I hope to make a difference to some 30 year olds who can make the needed changes for their children.

(34) Yaakov 3:30 Thursday, April 7, 2011 3:29 AM

Regretting not regretting.

Sometimes the things we regret, as you so elegantly stated, are not things we've done, but things we haven't. In the spirit of regretting by omission rather than commission, I regret that I have not felt more regret, for things I have done that I ought not to have done, If experience is the greatest teacher, then the emotional reactions to those experiences are the curriculum. By feeling satisfaction after a good experience, we have learned to repeat the actions that lead there. By feeling regret after a bad experience, or a poor life choice, then we have learned what to avoid. So I regret not regretting. Because in so doing, I have doomed myself to repeat.

(33) Anonymous, April 7, 2011 3:15 AM

The children didn't have

As a stupid, thoughtless young woman, I went along with my boyfriend's plan for an abortion. It took 40 years of psychotherapy and anti-depressants to get over the guilt of ending the life of my unborn child after 10 weeks of pregnancy (the soonest the procedure could be arranged in New York). For years I said, my child would have been xx years old now. I made up for it later in life, struggling to have a child, and was blessed with a son (he's 24 years old now.) I finally am no longer depressed. When my son was about 3 years old, I miscarried. I also regretted that I wasn't more careful, perhaps that I could have saved that pregnancy. In any case, it was not to be. I hope I can live to see grandchildren.

(32) Bill, April 6, 2011 11:57 PM

don't beat yourself up

David; Many years ago when I was still a cop in Queens NYC my partner and I recieved a call about a jumper on the seventh floor balcony of an ocean front apartment building. We quickley devised a plan with the responding fire crews to take the man off the balcony by tying ropes around ourselves and having the FD hold the ropes while we rushed the subject. We were successful in saving this man and we shipped him to a hospital for evaluation. The doctor diagnosed him as depressed and wrote a prescription and sent him home. A few days later we recieved the same call for a "jumper" and responded to the same location. By now you can fill in the rest of the story. My partner and I felt as though we had been gut punched due to the cavalier attitude of the medical staff that sent this man home with such a minimal evaluation. David, sometimes thing are just out of your control due to beurocracies. I wish you peace in your life Bill

David, July 12, 2011 1:05 PM

Thanks Bill, back at yah.

(31) Anonymous, April 6, 2011 8:29 PM

Divorce was good, breaking my son's heart was not

My biggest regret in my life is not being able to be the primary caregiver for my son when my husband and I divorced. We have never been comfortable financially. Because my husband ran his business from our home and my son's school was across the street, I was advised it would be best to leave the home and disrupt my son's life as little as possible by leaving him with his dad. We saw each other every week but it was never enough. Its been almost 15 years and my son is in college but I still miss the loss of time with him and want to turn back the clock changing the living arrangements.

(30) Chaya, April 6, 2011 7:01 PM

Let's hear your regrets, Rabbi

Rabbi- You tell US what your regrets are!

(29) L., April 6, 2011 4:22 PM

My regrets

Rabbi Solomon--what a great post! I chose the college I did based on prestige and ended up miserable for four years, whereas I would have been happier at a larger university. I regret not having my career objectives more organized--I am in my mid-20's and still "finding myself" while other people my age are already working towards careers. I know I want to do *something*--I am very ambitious, driven, and hardworking, but I just don't know exactly what I want to do quite yet. Hopefully, that will come with time. I also regret making academics too big of a priority when I was younger, as I missed out a lot on social opportunities and to this day feel deprived of emotional intimacy with people. I regret not going to seminary when I finished college, as it was the perfect time to go and the perfect age, and now I don't have one year of my life to spare and $$$ to spare. I regret the many painful years of utter solitude I had growing up--while it provided me with ample time to daven, study, and reflect, it also left me somewhat socially awkward and definitely depressed. I pray for clarity in my career objectives, a path to get there, and also, I pray for my bashert soon, as I greatly desire a large family. Hatzlacha to everyone! May you all have your prayers answered :-)

(28) Lavard Skou Larsen, April 6, 2011 12:22 PM

dont regret

I dont regret anything, even my mistakes. I learned with them, I became a more mature person and life gives you always a second, a thrird, a fourth chance. If you practice an instrument you make a lot of mistakes studying it before you go on stage and perform a concert. Without making the mistakes you are not ready and prepared to play well. The same happens in life. Forgive yourself, forgive the others and go on.

(27) Anonymous, April 6, 2011 12:12 PM

Career vs. Family

The thing that I regret next to most was also choosing not to exploit a career opportunity that I had. However, when I think about the reasons that I chose not to exploit those opportunities, it was always to benefit the needs of my wife or family. Maybe, if I had taken the career opportunities instead of choosing my family first, I would be writing here about the how I regret choosing my career over my family. In retrospect, I am probably better off lamenting poor career choices rather than poor family choices.

(26) david, April 6, 2011 7:46 AM

medical misdiagnosis

It's almost too hard to say, but I most regret the misdiagnoses that I made over my 20 years in an emergency department. I pray that they were minimal but some were horrific. For examlple a married man brought in by his wife because she was worried about his mental health. She was reluctant to have him kept in for observation against his will and there was not enough evidence to force the issue. He came back for one appointment with the psychiatrist but the next night killed his family, wife, children and cat. I can hardly handle it no matter what platitudes I come up with. I left medicine many years ago.

(25) bernie Rosenberg, April 6, 2011 3:53 AM

my biggest regret was in raising my daughter. i let her have her own way on a lot of issues and now it is tool late to correct. she is 46 and too late to correct.

(24) Anonymous, April 6, 2011 2:27 AM

Turning the clock back!!!

I would love to be able to turn the clock back and finish college. Unfortunately, I did not finish college due to the fact that I came to Israel and married an Israeli girl which was also a grave mistake because I have been suffering with her since I was married almost 28 years ago. It has also affected the children in a very negative way. I always thought it would get better but unfortunately it only gets worse. I was not told all the facts about her before I was married. If I would have had a good marriage, I would not have regretted dropping out of college, but not finishing college also caused me many problems in trying to make a livelihood which only adds to my marital problems. My wife has only taken away my self-esteem. I was warned by family members and friends before I was married, not to marry an Israeli but unfortunately did not listen which I regret everyday and would love to be able to turn the clock back and make the right decisions by finishing college and marrying the ideal person for myself.

(23) leah, April 6, 2011 1:41 AM


My biggest regret is not understanding the value of time. So much time has been wasted on things that dont matter in the long run.

(22) Shunrata, April 6, 2011 1:39 AM

you won't like this but...

My greatest regret is that I didn't stay with my non-Jewish boyfriend and marry him. Instead I converted to Judaism and went on to marry (and divorce) three abusive Jewish men. I love my kids but regret not staying with the only REAL MENTSCH (yes, irony intended) I ever had. Unfortunately, I can't think of a good fix for that one.

(21) Anonymous, April 6, 2011 1:34 AM

biggest regret

I had a termination of pregnancy when I was 21yo (I am now 62). From this came a psychosis (nine months later) and all the rest that goes with major mental illness. Although I went back to Uni and did three courses, made some great friends wherever we lived, and my three brothers also went down with serious mental illness, and I met a great man who became my spouse, I look back and think that there was nothing else i could have done in the situation. Occasionally, I think that it was for the best, for the child's sake ( it would have inherited a tendency for mental illness and other major diseases, plus I would have spent the rest of my life looking for it), I can't see any way to rectify what I did in 1970. I have tried many ways to 'fix' it. Grief remains. I guess it will never completely go away. I have been on medication the rest of my life. If I ever meet God, I will ask forgiveness, as I cannot forgive myself for it. There you are, that is my hugest regret. Susannah

(20) Anonymous, April 6, 2011 1:21 AM


Was drugged and raped. Found I was pregnant while my husband was on a military assignment. I felt this would destroy our marriage. Even though I felt it was wrong I took my baby's life. I can't undo but I am now a voice for the unborn.

(19) ruth housnan, April 6, 2011 12:21 AM

it seems i spent a lot of time "in the desert'

I was always asking about meaning in life, and my life did take a definite trajectory. I only regret that I didn't realize then, that this was meant to be, because it all led to where I am now, and I couldn't be who I am, without that "back story". In other words, I realize everything was "meant to happen" as it did, but I didn't know that, then. Maybe this is a very strange thing to say, but I so like where I am now, and realize my entire story, including the hard parts, the sad parts, the very puzzling parts, brought me to this place at this time, and I so like, being me. So much to celebrate, and so I forgive God for the sake of my story, knowing I was never forsaken. Perhaps this is an unusual thing to be saying, but there it is.

(18) Ja'akov Markus, April 5, 2011 10:38 PM


As a non-jew I was brought up not religious. My first serious contact with religion was with christianity. My wife is the daughter of a protestant priest with love for Israel. Actually he created a foundation in Holland to teach christians biblical hebrew and about their roots (jewish tradition). He gave me information about judaism and there was the real "click". I jumped right into judaism for 100% (including daily prayers and circumcision). My wife went nuts. She loves Israel but all those practical mitzvot! For her, God is love and we should give His love to each other. I probably failed there because until now I could not convince her to convert with me to judaism. This I regret deeply. By the way. Her sister Tamar and one of her brothers (Jair) converted to judaism by the rabbinut in Israel. So......there is hope! Ja'akov (Jaap) Markus - Holland

(17) Anonymous, April 5, 2011 9:59 PM


I regret that I allowed my husband to convince me that we could only afford one child. At 43, I am afraid that the time to have another has come and gone. I cannot even explain the pain that I feel.

Steve, April 6, 2011 7:12 AM

You are selfish..

You are self centered, and should not even have one child with your ego, and bad attitude. If I were your Husband, you would be divorced. I am sure he finds other women without you knowing, with your BAD attitude.

Anonymous, July 12, 2011 1:15 PM



Julie, April 6, 2011 8:37 AM

It can happen

Why continue to suffer? When I was 42 and my youngest child was already 8, my husband agreed that we could have another child as I had wanted for years. Now we have beautiful 3 year old twin boys. It's hard, but definitely wonderful for me, my marriage and the whole family.

lisa, April 6, 2011 9:01 AM

If not now....when??

43 is "older"....but not too old..... Don't regret it in 5 years from now...try now!! Good luck!

(16) Nancy, April 5, 2011 9:53 PM

Mistakes are important.

I am a retired school teacher, and I always used to tell my students that they will learn more from the negative things in their lives than the positive. Unfortunately, parents are often afraid to let their children fail....a big mistake!

(15) Elena Von Burg, April 5, 2011 8:26 PM

Life's Regrets

I regret not having gone to college immediately after high school. However, I attend college now and truly enjoy the experience. Who knows? Maybe if I had gone right after graduating high school, I may not have enjoyed it as I do now.

(14) Ashley, April 5, 2011 7:53 PM

no regrets

I have no regrets. I don't know why. It isn't that life has been easy or perfect. I just know, in my heart, that I always do the best I can even when that means not reaching the 'perfect place'. I see the humanness and complexity of each situation and forgive myself completely for being human.

(13) dov, April 5, 2011 7:35 PM

believe in myself

To some extend I did,however my very disfunctional mother never could credit me for anything,all I was given is the words not good enough. As a consequence with all my talent as a scientist those words hounted me. and no matter what I achieved never felt validated. This is regretfull.

(12) Anonymous, April 5, 2011 7:20 PM

What I regret the most - wasting my time

As a youngster, the TV was my babysitter. As i grew, I watched it for way too many hours each day. It was a vast waste of time. And, what is our life? The time we are given. When I married, my husband and I agreed to have no TV in our home. That is one part of the correction. The other is part is using my time for worthwhile purposes. I think that by watching TV so much for so many years I became accustomed to a passive lifestyle. It is difficult to change, but I do not give up trying.

(11) A Baal Teshuva, April 5, 2011 7:03 PM

No Need to Lament

Since God's hand is in every decision, there is really no reason to lament at all. What may seem a bad decision, we may determine later ironically turns out to be quite good. Regret can lead to being despondent, so just look at the bright side and change things that can be changed. For me, I grew up in a home where Judaic values were stated but not practiced. I regret that I was not given a Jewish education and later offered, with all good intent, what I realize now to be a 'watered-down" version of Judaism to my children due to ignorance on my part. I am so grateful for having been afforded a chance to open my eyes to the real Judaism. It's late, yes. But never too late. Better late than never. For this I am grateful. Change is hard, but so worth it.

(10) Anonymous, April 5, 2011 6:55 PM

That the United States has changed

Outside of the fact that my youngest son refuses to have anything to do with me, I deeply regret that the United States has turned into an Oligarchy and Fascist state. The out-and-out greed is positively frightening. Large companies pay NO TAXES, but receive millions in "refunds." CEO of GE has just accepted a 100% increase in his pay. How Much Is Enough? If the government shuts down, none of us know whether we will get our Social Security checks. After paying into the FICA fund for over 58 years it appears that no checks will be forthcoming. Those gigantic companies pay zero in taxes, yet the IRS is after me for money I do not owe them. There are times I regret being born at all. I used to enjoy life, then hate mongers poisoned the minds and hearts of so many people that all seems like hate and discontent. What a shame; unmitigated GREED has caused much of this and unless you are one of the super wealthy, you are looked down on.

(9) Edna, April 5, 2011 6:53 PM

Don't ignore warning signs of stroke:

I lay in bed moaning about "the worst headache of my life" but I thought no one could die of a headache. WRONG! A severe headache with no known cause may be a warning sign of stroke. The others are F - drooping face A- inability to raise arms and hold them level S - slurred speech T - time matters, every second counts. I continue with therapy to try to recover -- while I've been told i may never be 100% again, I am going to work toward 100% even if it only takes me to a lesser percentage. And it's my mission in life to educate others about these warning signs. IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE, not just the old or those with family history. I WAS 47. PLEASE, if you have any of these signs, call an ambulance or have someone take you immediately to hospital. If you think you can't afford it -- do you really think you can afford to be disabled for life? Take care of yourself.

(8) Anonymous, April 5, 2011 5:23 PM


not telling my parents when I was raped and then marrying someone who was like the rapist and staying with ihiim for 25 years before ttelling and having an abortion right after I got married so no one would think I was a slut which is what my mother called me when I came home late one night - innocent evening. sex can be at any hour. But it was the rape that led to the rest.

(7) Anonymous, April 5, 2011 11:51 AM

life regrets

I regret dating (an unattractive) non-Jew and not knowing how to find the right Jewish woman over a decade after leaving that relationship. Secondly, I regret not knowing how to have enough fun in life. The thought of living life to the fullest just overwhelms me since it can come across as pushy advice. Also, I tend to regret how much potential I may be wasting such as in recreational activities that I was good at such as archery and horseback riding where I fell below par on and not being able to recover. Plus, I may be regretting calls from employers for jobs that involve facilitating recreational activities for the elderly, where I don't want to take advantage of these jobs even to come in for an interview or a 2nd interview. Another thing I regret is not being sociable enough, where I resent that it seems to come across as a "good tool" to drink beer or wine in order to be more comfortable with others, even though alcoholic beverages don't really hold any health benefits and impact one's judgment and ability to drive. Furthermore, I either regret or worry about missing out on more opportunities than I take advantage of. For instance, I worry about being more bored at parties than I would be at home or work, much like how I regret not knowing how to enjoy vacations, which I haven't been on in a while, where I'd anticipate boredom and homesickness as I worry about missed work productivity at my 2 PT jobs...Other than that, while this was a good video by Rabbi Solomon, I hope it's not too early for Yom Kippur later on this year. For sure, this blog is a great way to get these regrets off our chest and share with others, much like how the pen is mightier than the sword...All in all, we shouldn't have to regret life away on could've/would've/should've. It may be a matter of moving on from such bad past, personal experience.

(6) Anonymous, April 4, 2011 11:57 AM

not living up

i guess its like ana says (first comment) not living up to my own standards. when it comes to Judaism. i could be so much more and thats what i regret, not having the home that we read of, of great Jews. my kids are still young and i think if i push myself one step further my husband and i will have the home we always dreamt of having -- a pure Torah home.thank you.

(5) chaya, April 4, 2011 11:20 AM

I have been facing this issue recently. I had told my husband I wanted to have one more child. We waited eight years to have chldren. We have four. I am forty six years old. I want to try to have one more. He says we are too old.

Gail, April 5, 2011 8:08 PM

Go for it!

No you aren't too old, go for your dream. You are as old as you feel inside and providing you are in good health, then why not.

Anonymous, April 6, 2011 7:15 AM

You are TOO old

Your Husband should kick you to the curb with your BAD attitude. Maybe he will have another child or two with a younger women, and leave you, which he should do.

Joel, April 7, 2011 4:19 PM

Anonymous, Think Twice Before Posting

Anonymous, Your rude and cruel comment has no place on this blog or anywhere else.

Anonymous, July 12, 2011 1:23 PM

Oh no, not you again! Ouch!!

Ouch again already!, You said almost the same to someone else with a similar problem and all I can say is "You have a BAD attitude."

(4) Anonymous, April 4, 2011 10:03 AM

Making the right decision for oneself without outside interference

I have many regrets I have to live with. I understand that certain situations are beyond my control. If I could do it all over again, I would take college courses in the summer during my high school years.I would have gone to college after graduation instead of taking an intermission to go to seminary for a year. I would have more clarity of my career thus having a more secure future to enable.

(3) Anonymous, April 3, 2011 9:13 PM

Making mistakes has made me who I am today

While I do regret many things I have done in my life, like fights with my parents, and not taking care of myself as well as I could, if I had had the chance to turn back the clock I would not. The most powerful tool of education in my journey of life has been learning from my mistakes. And I don't always get it the first time, I may repeat something many times before waking up and realizing that I have to change. But, my mistakes are just as big a part of me as my successes.

(2) ana, April 3, 2011 5:10 PM

my own standards

i regret not living up to my own standards, when i hold everyone else accountable to them. i'm pretty sure that if everyone would live according to their own pure truth, the world would seem like a better place. i think there might even be peace.

(1) Rachel, April 3, 2011 12:20 PM

Not taking more relationship chances

Well, the answer is simple...get outside one's comfort zone! I intend to do just that. Thanks for giving us something to think about :)


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