Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Repentance and the Ten Days of Awe
[If you ] keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceiving talk; turn from evil, and do good; seek peace, go after it!. - Psalm 34:14-15, CJB
In case you missed them, we have just been through the 10 Days of Awe, also known as the 10 Days of Repentance. These are the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur where we reflect on ourselves and the last year, and go to others we have wronged, or may have wronged during the past year, and ask forgiveness. We are also to keep from speaking Lashon Hara (ill will) against one another. Unfortunately, it seems people don't pay attention to the teachings that are given on this. We spend an hour or so in a Rosh Hashana service, repenting of our sins, asking God for forgiveness, and cleaning us. Yet, no sooner is the service over, I see more people being rude and disrespectful toward others than forgiving. They just go on with life thinking that anything they do or say to or about others is fine. One of the blessings given during this time of year is "May your name be inscribed in the book of life." Unfortunately, I think some hear, "your name is inscribed in the book of life."
I came across a teaching where a Rabbi Yohanan, who lived in the third century, taught, "Three books are opened in heaven on Rosh Hashanah, one for the completely wicked, one for the completely righteous and one for those in between. The completely righteous are immediately inscribed in the book of life. The completely wicked are immediately inscribed in the book of death. The fate of those in between is suspended until Yom Kippur. If they do well, they are inscribed in the book of life. If not, in the book of death" (Rosh Hashanah 16b)
Where do you fall in this? I can say for myself that I am in between. Although we practice repentance during the 10 Days day of Awe, we should strive to be the best we can be every day, in thought, word, and deed, as we don't know when Adonai will call us home. Rabbi Eliezer in Shabbat 153a says, "repent one day before your death."
Just one thing have I asked of Adonai; only this will I seek: to live in the house of Adonai all the days of my life, to see the beauty of Adonai and visit in his temple. - Psalm 27:4 CJB
I pray that we all will continue to seek to live in the House of Adonai.