Growing Each Day by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

Tishrei 10
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Because the day has passed, shield us by the merit of [the Patriarch Abraham] who sat [at the door of his tent] in the heat of the day [to welcome wayfarers] (Genesis 18:1) (Ne'ilah prayer).

Just prior to Ne'ilah (the concluding service of Yom Kippur), one of the Chassidic masters ascended the bimah (platform) and said tearfully, "My dear brothers and sisters! God in His infinite mercy gave us the entire month of Elul to repent, but we failed to take advantage of it. He gave us the awesome days of Rosh Hashanah, when our standing in judgment before the heavenly tribunal should have stimulated us to repent, but we neglected that opportunity. He gave us the special grace of the Ten Days of Penitence, but we let these pass too. All we have left now are a few precious moments that are propitious for forgiveness.

"The Sages of the Talmud tell us that if a person enters a marriage contract on the condition that he is a perfect tzaddik, then it is binding even if he is known to be a complete rasha (wicked person). Why? Because he may have had one moment of sincere contrition that transformed him from a complete rasha to a perfect tzaddik. "Do you hear that, my dear brothers and sisters? All it takes one brief moment of sincere contrition! We have the opportunity of that moment now. In just one moment we can emerge totally cleansed of all our sins, in a state of perfection akin to that of Adam in the Garden of Eden."

The rabbi wept profusely and uncontrollably. "Could we be so foolish as to overlook such a rare opportunity? Let us assist one another and join in achieving sincere repentance!"

Today I shall...

take advantage of the Divine gift of forgiveness, and make my resolutions of repentance sincere, so that the new person that emerges will be unencumbered by the burdens of the past.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

Comments (1)

(1) Annette, September 29, 2009 4:29 AM

aaahhh.... I keep falling in love with Judaism

so tonight we had the concluding services of Yom Kippur and a lovely break-the-fast feast; yesterday our Chabad Rabbi drove 5 hours on his own from Ottawa without his family and stayed with us for the meal tonight - and it just seems that everything we do in Judaism, everything we've been doing at our shul and other aish Shuls I visit, and the families that invite me as their guests work so hard at just improving themselves, 'growing themselves', and praying not for selfish whims but to help elevate the soul of a departed one, pray to for the healing of others, pray for gratitude 'around the clock', pray so they may have parnassah not just for their bills but for tzedakah, our chit-chats are about well wishing eachother and others at every aspect of our lives, and on it goes And this article encapsulates it all too well... May we all take a brief moment of sincere contrition every day and expand on it from time to time to emerge as better jews and as better humans, who may deserve to shine the light on others - and may too continue to keep falling in love with Judaism... life is now.

 

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