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Yom Kippur

Rochel Gross

Yom Kippur, the day when Hashem seals our fate for the coming year, is fast approaching. When we contemplate what could be decreed for us in the coming year, it is natural for us to be terrified. But Hashem, in His infinite kindness, gave us a special gift (three, actually), guaranteed to tear up bad decrees and inscribe us in the sefer of tzaddikim. We all know what these “magic” things are: teshuvah, tefillah, and tzedakah.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


The word “repentance” denotes remorse about past events. But the word “teshuvah” doesn’t mean regret; teshuvah means return. To return our neshamos to their original holy state and thus return to Hashem.

Imagine if someone gave you a piece of clay and told you to turn it into an apple. Impossible, right? But what if it’s actually an apple inside, covered with clay on the outside? Ah, that’s different. It is definitely possible to return the apple to its original state. It may entail some effort to scrape off the clay, but you’re left with a beautiful apple.

Sometimes we despair of changing, because we think we have to become something we aren’t, just like trying to make clay into an apple. I can’t become a holy person; I’m just not built that way. Not true! We are built that way. We all have pure, untainted neshamos. In essence, we are all good. With just a little effort, we can get that dirty layer of sin off, and our beautiful neshamos will shine.


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