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Delving deeper – Yom Kippur

  • Rabbi Shmuel Bloch
“On Rosh Hashanah we planned and mapped out our future. On Yom Kippur we take practical steps to make sure that we get there,” explains Rabbi Shmuel Bloch in his engaging style. This is a great read for the whole family. Print it out and read it at the erev-Yom Kippur table…
by RABBI SHMUEL BLOCH | Oct 01, 2014

Imagine travelling through time

Imagine being able to instantaneously go back to the past, revisit your childhood and your younger years. Or imagine being able to voyage into the future and see yourself and your family in thirty years’ time.

If an opportunity to travel through time existed, would you take it?

The idea of time travel has captivated mankind for ages. The notion of returning to a previous time period with the awareness of the present or glimpsing into what the future holds for us excites and terrifies us at the same time. It is fascinating to note that the concept of time travel has never grown old and stale. Over 100 years ago, H G Wells wrote his famous novel “The Time Machine”.

 

Interest in time travel

Since then, interest in time travel has grown exponentially with any number of books, movies and comics revisiting time travel again and again. It is not just the entertainment industry that is infatuated with time travel.  Within the scientific world, where cold logic rather than fantasy reigns supreme, time travel is a popular topic of investigation and research. Scientists are hard at work trying to understand the depth and complexity of the concept of time and theorize that someday time travel might be a real reality. 

With time travel being such a popular topic, we need to explore and discover what the allure and attraction of time travel really is.

Concerning our past, why are we enthralled and mesmerised at the possibility of returning to a bygone era?

After all, as the cliché says “what’s done is done”. The past is over, finished, never ever to return. It is true that the past colours our present but if all of our thoughts, actions and speech are solely focused on what was, then we lose living in the present and we fail to appreciate what is imminent and yet to come. 

What about the future?

Do we really want to know what is going to happen to us?

 

People would love to trek through time

For sure, we would be excited to see all the wonderful success and fantastic achievements that we will attain at some upcoming time period. However, what about events that are (G-d forbid) challenging, difficult and emotionally taxing? Do we really want to have foreknowledge of all the trying and gruelling situations that we will have to face and overcome?

Thus time travel in either direction generates a whole host of emotions within a person. However, most people would agree that if the possibility of time travel really did exist, they would love to trek through time for various personal reasons.

Why is this so?

Perhaps the reason that we are so enchanted with travelling back in time is because consciously or unconsciously, we realise that we live life in ignorance and it is only as we get older that we amass the knowledge and information that would have proved so useful so long ago.
It is only now, when it is too late, that we comprehend the consequences from the terrible mistakes we made. We realise how so many things could have turned out vastly different. Thus we would love to go back in time and fix the past and repair the damage from our errors.

In terms of the future, each one of us wants the security to know that everything will turn out alright in the end despite the chaos and turmoil that presently surrounds us. We desperately want to see that our striving and efforts did not go to waste and that we and our descendants are thriving and productive both physically and spiritually. Thus we would love to venture into the future and witness this reality with our very own eyes.

 

We resemble angels

Despite technology’s lack of success to provide us with a real working time machine, we should appreciate and recognise that from a Jewish perspective time travel is definitely possible and that we have the greatest time machine possible.

It is called Yom Kippur.

On Yom Kippur Hashem in his infinite kindness has given us a day where we are above time and are not controlled and dictated by it. We resemble angels in that we do not eat or drink and we spend this precious time period reflecting and pondering our past, present and future.
We step into the time machine of Yom Kippur and we relive and revisit our past in great detail for 24 hours. We cry over our mistakes. We weep over how far we have strayed from living an authentic Jewish life. We feel the hurt and pain of our incorrect actions. We scrutinise our behaviour and question everything that we did. We speak to Hashem with intensity that if we had to do it all over again, it would be different this time.

Then a miracle happens.

Hashem assures us that if we perform the mitzvah of teshuva correctly (which includes confession, regret and resolve not to repeat our mistakes) then we can overhaul and revamp the past. teshuvah on Yom Kippur is so potent that we can ask Hashem to press the “Restart” button.

Incredibly. He does.

Suddenly and amazingly, Hashem (as it were) wipes the slate clean. All of the incorrect decisions and their consequences that we now rue have disappeared. Any spiritual stains which may have inhibited our growth and success in this world are eliminated and obliterated. We have restored our past to such an extent that by the end of Yom Kippur we feel new, invigorated, unsullied, and revitalised. Our past is now a source of pride rather than embarrassment.

 

Planned & mapped our future

The time machine of Yom Kippur works for the future as well. On Rosh Hashanah, we resolved with dedication and passion to discover the true depth and meaning of our Jewish identity. We declared with strength and vigour that this year will be different. We asked Hashem to write us in the Book of Life for a year of good health, blessing and success because we undertook to be the people Hashem wants us to be.

On Rosh Hashanah we planned and mapped out our future. On Yom Kippur we take practical steps to make sure that we get there.

On Yom Kippur we break the shackles of habit. We concretise our resolutions for the future. The entire day is spent facing who we are now and who we would like to be next year. By the time the final shofar blast is blown we are exhausted and fatigued. Yet the sheer happiness and ecstasy that most people feel after Neilah is indescribable. We have seen the future and we are certain that with Hashem’s help, we will enjoy every step of the journey getting there.

Yom Kippur is the most exquisite and amazing day. There is no limit in how much we can achieve on Yom Kippur. After utilizing the time machine of Yom Kippur we have repaired our past and our future looks bright and sparkling. What could be better than that?

Yom Kippur is a day brimming with opportunity. Every second is priceless. Take advantage of Yom Kippur and twenty four hours later your will see your past, present and future blend into a glorious whole and you will see how special you really are.

Wishing You a Gmar Chasima Tova

Rabbi Shmuel Bloch

 

 

 

Previous DELVING DEEPER writes by Rabbi Bloch

Rabbi Bloch’s thoughts on Rosh Hashanah

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“On Rosh Hashanah we planned and mapped out our future. On Yom Kippur we take practical steps to make sure that we get there,” explains Rabbi Shmuel Bloch in his engaging style. This is a great read for the whole family. Print it out and read it at the erev-Yom Kippur table…

 

 

Imagine travelling through time.

Imagine being able to instantaneously go back to the past, revisit your childhood and your younger years. Or imagine being able to voyage into the future and see yourself and your family in thirty years’ time.

If an opportunity to travel through time existed, would you take it?

The idea of time travel has captivated mankind for ages. The notion of returning to a previous time period with the awareness of the present or glimpsing into what the future holds for us excites and terrifies us at the same time. It is fascinating to note that the concept of time travel has never grown old and stale. Over 100 years ago, H.G Wells wrote his famous novel “The Time Machine”.

 

Interest in time travel

Since then, interest in time travel has grown exponentially with any number of books, movies and comics revisiting time travel again and again. It is not just the entertainment industry that is infatuated with time travel.  Within the scientific world, where cold logic rather than fantasy reigns supreme, time travel is a popular topic of investigation and research. Scientists are hard at work trying to understand the depth and complexity of the concept of time and theorize that someday time travel might be a real reality. 

With time travel being such a popular topic, we need to explore and discover what the allure and attraction of time travel really is.

Concerning our past, why are we enthralled and mesmerized at the possibility of returning to a bygone era?

After all, as the cliché says “what’s done is done”. The past is over, finished, never ever to return. It is true that the past colours our present but if all of our thoughts, actions and speech are solely focused on what was, then we lose living in the present and we fail to appreciate what is imminent and yet to come. 

What about the future?

Do we really want to know what is going to happen to us?

 

People would love to trek through time

For sure, we would be excited to see all the wonderful success and fantastic achievements that we will attain at some upcoming time period. However what about events that are (G-d Forbid) challenging, difficult and emotionally taxing? Do we really want to have foreknowledge of all the trying and grueling situations that we will have to face and overcome?

Thus time travel in either direction generates a whole host of emotions within a person. However, most people would agree that if the possibility of time travel really did exist, they would love to trek through time for various personal reasons.

Why is this so?

Perhaps the reason that we are so enchanted with travelling back in time is because consciously or unconsciously, we realize that we live life in ignorance and it is only as we get older that we amass the knowledge and information that would have proved so useful so long ago. It is only now, when it is too late, that we comprehend the consequences from the terrible mistakes we made. We realize how so many things could have turned out vastly different. Thus we would love to go back in time and fix the past and repair the damage from our errors.

In terms of the future, each one of us wants the security to know that everything will turn out alright in the end despite the chaos and turmoil that presently surrounds us. We desperately want to see that our striving and efforts did not go to waste and that we and our descendants are thriving and productive both physically and spiritually. Thus we would love to venture into the future and witness this reality with our very own eyes.

 

We resemble angels

Despite technology’s lack of success to provide us with a real working time machine, we should appreciate and recognize that from a Jewish perspective time travel is definitely possible and that we have the greatest time machine possible.

It is called Yom Kippur.

On Yom Kippur Hashem in his infinite kindness has given us a day where we are above time and are not controlled and dictated by it. We resemble angels in that we do not eat or drink and we spend this precious time period reflecting and pondering our past, present and future. We step into the time machine of Yom Kippur and we relive and revisit our past in great detail for 24 hours. We cry over our mistakes. We weep over how far we have strayed from living an authentic Jewish life. We feel the hurt and pain of our incorrect actions. We scrutinize our behavior and question everything that we did. We speak to Hashem with intensity that if we had to do it all over again, it would be different this time.

Then a miracle happens.

Hashem assures us that if we perform the Mitzvah of Teshuva correctly (which includes confession, regret and resolve not to repeat our mistakes) then we can overhaul and revamp the past. Teshuvah on Yom Kippur is so potent that we can ask Hashem to press the “Restart” button.

Incredibly. He does.

Suddenly and amazingly, Hashem (as it were) wipes the slate clean. All of the incorrect decisions and their consequences that we now rue have disappeared. Any spiritual stains which may have inhibited our growth and success in this world are eliminated and obliterated. We have restored our past to such an extent that by the end of Yom Kippur we feel new, invigorated, unsullied, and revitalized. Our past is now a source of pride rather than embarrassment.

 

Planned & mapped our future

The time machine of Yom Kippur works for the future as well. On Rosh Hashanah, we resolved with dedication and passion to discover the true depth and meaning of our Jewish identity. We declared with strength and vigor that this year will be different. We asked Hashem to write us in the Book of Life for a year of good health, blessing and success because we undertook to be the people Hashem wants us to be.

On Rosh Hashanah we planned and mapped out our future. On Yom Kippur we take practical steps to make sure that we get there.

On Yom Kippur we break the shackles of habit. We concretize our resolutions for the future. The entire day is spent facing who we are now and who we would like to be next year. By the time the final shofar blast is blown we are exhausted and fatigued. Yet the sheer happiness and ecstasy that most people feel after Neilah is indescribable. We have seen the future and we are certain that with Hashem’s help, we will enjoy every step of the journey getting there.

Yom Kippur is the most exquisite and amazing day. There is no limit in how much we can achieve on Yom Kippur. After utilizing the time machine of Yom Kippur we have repaired our past and our future looks bright and sparkling. What could be better than that?

Yom Kippur is a day brimming with opportunity. Every second is priceless. Take advantage of Yom Kippur and twenty four hours later your will see your past, present and future blend into a glorious whole and you will see how special you really are.

Wishing You a Gmar Chasima Tova

Rabbi Shmuel Bloch

 


Previous DELVING DEEPER writes by Rabbi Bloch

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