A new way to repent at Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown on Friday, is the holiest day of the year. Tradition would have it that people spend every evening before Yom Kippur pondering their sins and their faults and everything bad about themselves. While repenting during the High Holy Days, many may spend a lot of their time crying and sobbing over their wrongdoings.

But when you spend too much time pondering your failures, it almost inevitably leads to depression, and more trouble and more sins. When contemplating your sins, you may just come to the conclusion that you actually enjoyed them. You don’t want to repent. You want a replay. And your mind will play it over and over again. It’s a vicious cycle. So how does this happen? When you live in a world with the lights dimmed and the blinds pulled down, dark corners become black holes with relentless gravitational pull.

We are taught that true repentance requires certain elements: recognition, remorse, ceasing, restitution and confession. But I encourage you to approach Yom Kippur a bit differently. Don’t simply repent. Do teshuvah instead.

Teshuvah means “return.” Return toward the light from which your soul originally came. Run toward the light and fill your life with more wisdom, more understanding, more mitzvahs, more joy, love and beauty. As you return, the light will get brighter and brighter, and you’ll be able to reach out and talk directly and sincerely with your God.

It is at this moment when it will become obvious to you that your sins from the past are holding you back. That’s when a genuine, aching remorse will overcome you and swell up from the bottom of your heart. In that moment, you can unload all of that bad stuff and forge forward. That’s when you repent. But not until then.

During the 10 days from Rosh Hashanah until Yom Kippur, there’s a lot of light. Do not spend the holiest time of the year dwelling on your mistakes. Instead, reach toward the light. Feel the presence of an Infinite God, Creator of all things, who awaits your return to Him. And as you return, let your sins fall away, never to come back again. You won’t want them back again, once you’ve felt the embrace of His light.

Join us for Yom Kippur services at the Lester and Hilda Greenstein Chabad of Kendall/Pinecrest in our spacious sanctuary where prayers are warm, the people friendly and everyone feels at home. We offer a welcoming service to all, regardless of background or affiliation. No membership is required to attend the services. However, a donation is suggested and reservations are required.

To reserve your seat, call 305-234-5654 or go to www.chabadofkendall.org

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