Wednesday, September 23, 2009


We are in the midst of what have been labeled by orthodox Judaism"The Ten Days of Awe," the days in between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. During this time, there is a great focus on teshuvah, or repentance. As believers, this is a wonderful time for us to spend remembering what G-d has done for us and also repenting from those things in our lives that He does not approve of. To "repent" literally means, "to turn." We have to turn from our ungodly thoughts and actions and turn back towards G-d, who has been waiting for us all along.

I have heard it said that we should "go back to the place where we departed from G-d" in repentance, but in this sinful body and world in which we live and breathe, I'm not sure that we always know or remember when and where we departed from godliness. In that case, let us simply return to the feet of our Savior and ask for forgiveness and perhaps He will show us when we departed, or even better, He will align our feet again to the path that He set us upon so that we can continue the journey.

I recently watched the movie, The Chosen, based on the book by Chaim Potok. It is one of my favorites by far, but the ending is the best part. The Chassidic son, who has been seemingly ignored by his father in all aspects of his life except for discussions of Talmud and Torah, is told by his father why he raised him that way. When the boy was very young, he read and memorized a tragic story and recited it to his father with no emotion, no pain at all... and his father realized that he had been given a son with a great mind but an undeveloped heart. So he chose to raise him with the "wisdom and pain" of silence in order to help him better connect with his own heart and also to feel the pain of others around him. When the father determined that the young man had accomplished this, he then began to speak to him about everything and their relationship flourished. The son was then grateful for the silence that he had been subjected to because it subsequently made him a better person. It's a beautiful story in so many ways, and if you have not seen it, do so. Perhaps our Heavenly Father leaves us in silence for periods of time for our own good...

At the very end of the movie, there is one more little story that is told: A boy leaves his father and runs away. His father tells him to return, and he says that he cannot. In great love and compassion, the father tells him, "Well, return as far as you can and I will come meet you there." This not only reminds me of the story of the prodigal son, it speaks volumes to me about repentance. If you, like me, have forgotten where you departed from G-d, don't despair. During these Days of Awe, let us return to Him as far as we can, and He will meet us there.

No comments:

Post a Comment