Return trips are always harder than outgoing trips. When we leave for a destination, we are filled with anticipation and excitement.
We have a tradition on our family summer road trips that we never take the same route home. This allows us to not only see something new but relieves us from the monotonous boredom we would encounter repeating our steps from just days before.
We are about to enter Shabbat Shuva, the Shabbat of Return. The prophet Hoshea tells us, Shuva Yisrael, return to the people Israel. Yet as we know, a spiritual return home is often more difficult than simply following road signs or a Google map. How do we make the changes necessary to come home by taking a different path that we embarked upon at first? The first prayer we recite when entering a sanctuary is Mah Tovu, acknowledging that our sacred prayer space is a tent. A tent has openings on many sides. Similar to a Jewish community, there are a myriad of entry points. This upcoming week, thousands will gather as a community for Yom Kippur. Yet, when we return home, what path will we take? What impact will the words of Torah and inspiring melodies have on our hearts and souls?
This year, find the route that suits you, and explore where that path takes you. Shuva Yisrael, return to the people Israel.
Gmar Chatima Tova.