A Bisl Torah


It is hard to admit that “confessional” stands at the heart of the High Holy Day season. But throughout the liturgy, we beat our chests, publicly state our misgivings and pray that God has enough compassion this year to guide through repentance and change. To place confession at the core of the holidays means that we each have something to admit; something we’ve concealed and would rather keep unrevealed. Confession conveys that we are all hiding something from someone.

The Maharal of Prague said, “All the month of Elul, before eating and sleeping, a person should look into his soul and search his deeds, that he may make confession.” In other words, perhaps confession is an act between the soul and man. That we live each day forgetting, making mistakes, hurting feelings and engaging in regretful behavior. However, the realization that we have done something wrong is rare. Looking into the mirror and intentionally asking where and when we have missed the mark is erratic. Therefore, we are given this gift of time. To search the crevices of our soul and admit to ourselves: this year, I made some major mistakes. This year, it is time to come clean.

If we are meant to confess before every meal and each time we lay our head on the pillow, it is clearly a lot of confessing. But I think we are being asked to engage in a habitual practice. We don’t think twice about brushing our teeth. We usually remember to put on our shoes and look both ways before crossing the street. Why is it so hard to make a habit of looking within, put some pressure on the soul, and ask three or four or five times a day, “How can I be a little bit better?” The time is now. Don’t wait.

This High Holy Day season, may you reveal to yourself what is hiding within your soul.

Shabbat Shalom

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