Shana Tova everyone! Racheli here, and I'm just winding down from "the day after." Every day after a Jewish holiday should be its own holiday known as "The Day After Holiday Holiday." You know, I just realized that there is a day after chag like that in Israel. It's called Isru Chag, and I think it has something to do with wrapping up the holiday, or getting a chance to do all the laundry before heading back to work. After my day after, I have a burning existential question that's on my mind. Maybe one of you knows the answer.
My question is: why do white shirts get all the stains? It's an amazing phenomenon, isn't it? My kids' other shirts sometimes get some food or G-d-knows-what stains on them, but nowhere near the amount of stains as their white Shabbat shirts get. Why couldn't Shabbat shirts have been black?
Anyhow. These ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are the most important ten days of our entire year. Although our deeds were judged on Rosh Hashana, and the judgment will be sealed on Yom Kippur, Hashem in His unbelievable mercy has given us the famous "Ten Days of Teshuva" in between.
So here's what we need to focus on. Listen up, yo. Teshuva is certainly repenting for past misdeeds, committing to never do them again, and trying to start fresh. BUT. If you do all of these things without the desire to draw closer to Hashem, then your teshuva is meaningless.
The actual meaning of teshuva is "to return." What do we want to return? Where do we want to return to?
We want to return to Hashem. We want to re-establish a close, intimate connection with our Creator, our loving Father who wants nothing more than to have a relationship with us. The mantra that should be in our minds these next nine days is: "Hashem, I want to get close to You. I want to have a closer connection with You. Please help me do that."
The best part is that as soon as we have this desire in our hearts and in our minds, we are automatically catapulted to the level of a tzaddik, a righteous person, without having done anything more! Based on this desire alone, we can overturn any harsh judgments that might be hanging in cryogenic suspension or whatever, and bring about a completely new and improved year!
Once you have this desire firmly implanted in your heart, you are unstoppable! Nothing will stand in the way of your teshuva! May we all be blessed with an inscription in the Book of Life for a sweet, happy, and healthy year, Amen!