Friday, September 13, 2013

Don't Waste Time

“...In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work ... For on that day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the L-RD.” – Leviticus 16:29-30

At sunset, Yom Kippur will begin. For Jews, this is our “Day of Atonement” for the sins that we have committed against G-d. It is on this day that we have the opportunity to change the judgment entered into the books of life and death in which G-d inscribes all names. It is our last appeal before these books are sealed. This is our day to demonstrate our repentance and make amends for all the transgressions that have stained our lives this past year.  

Many of us have taken the past week to ask forgiveness from others, I could have done a better job of that, but now is the time that we ask for G-d’s forgiveness of our sins. There are many of these transgressions that can be found in the thoughts and prayers of Jews around the world and across generations. Maybe we didn’t go to services enough, maybe we haven’t read Torah and studied Talmud enough, and maybe there are more serious offenses that we ask to be forgiven.

Those are, for the most part, commonalities that we all share during this Holy time of year but there is something for which I am certainly going to ask to be forgiven which is commonly overlooked. How many hours each year do we spend watching television or aimlessly surfing the internet? How many times have you found yourself zoning out on Facebook reading posts and looking at pictures that you are only going to forget about later? How much time do we waste on an annual basis?

That is what I will make sure to include in my prayers and in my pleas… I am asking to be forgiven for wasting life. There is so much that I can be doing with the time I have to make a difference rather than spending hours doing something that has no lasting impact or meaning. If you find yourself in this situation and such action, or inaction as it were, has affected the life or lives of others you must also ask for their forgiveness. The same can be said for the sin of judgment. We have all judged others to varying degrees whether it is because of how someone looks, their level of observance, the job they may have, etc. Hopefully you have already asked them for forgiveness, but we must also ask G-d for forgiveness for unfairly casting judgment on His creation.

This is the time to learn from our reflections this past week, recognize our shortcomings, and ask G-d not only for His forgiveness for what we have done wrong but for the strength and wisdom needed to prevent us from committing them in this new year. This is a time for transformation. It is a time that allows us to wake up and see the world through G-d’s eyes. This is a time for change.