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Time Travel

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

Library » Holidays » Yom Kippur » Essays | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Imagine you could go back in time... What would you do differently, now that you have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and the added maturity and wisdom which comes with age and experience? There are so many things you would change that you probably wouldn’t even know where to begin. Would you start with your teenage years when you dreadfully mistreated your parents, completely unappreciative of all they had done for you? Would you want to redo a job interview which you botched? Do you desperately wish you could have been kinder to your spouse, or perhaps would you want to have said “I love you” more often to a person who is no longer with us?

Unfortunately, life isn’t so kind. The tape of life annoyingly continues to roll, no matter how awful the recording may be, and there is no rewind button which allows you to erase and rerecord the parts which today you are so ashamed of. The moment a statement leaves your mouth, the moment you perpetrate any act, it is permanently etched in your file. Yes, you can ask forgiveness from an individual whom you wronged, and you can certainly improve your behavior from hereon forward, causing others to forgive and forget your prior lapses in judgment. But those awkward painful moments will forever be part of your life story...

The tape of life annoyingly continues to roll, no matter how awful the recording may be, and there is no rewind button which allows you to erase and rerecord the parts which today you are so ashamed of
All this is true with regards to our personal matters, business issues, and our interactions with others. It does not, however, apply to our relationship with G-d.

The Talmud teaches that “repentance which is motivated by fear (of divine retribution), transforms all past willful transgressions into mere erroneous oversights. Repentance which is prompted by a genuine love for G-d causes all previous sins to become merits!” This means that through proper repentance not only do we cause G-d forgive and forget our sins, we actually have the ability to “go back in time” – not only to neutralize our past mistakes, but to transform them into positive deeds!

The secret behind this nature-defying stunt is the Jewish soul which we all possess. The soul – which is especially revealed on Yom Kippur – is intrinsically a “part of G-d,” and thus shares G-d’s timeless nature. Just as G-d transcends the limitations of time, so too the Jew – who through proper repentance is fully in tune with his soul – has the ability to go beyond the limitations of the physical body and can actually “repair” an event which happened long ago.

Be a part of an exhilirating experience. After all, if someone offered you a ride on a time machine, wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity?


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Repentance
Holidays » Yom Kippur » Repentance

Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.