Within the Calendar of Jewish Tradition, we have once again returned to the beginning of another New Year (Rosh Hashanah), and the ever-important intervening Ten Days of Repentance (Aseret Yemei Teshuva) until Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. We are taught to look back at the year that was, in order to better live the year that will be.
As any one of us looks back on our lives, whether it's the past one year or the past ten, we remember what we wanted to do - and did; what we needed to do - and tried; even what we should have thought twice about doing, before doing it.
We've all probably heard, ”To err is human, to forgive is Divine"? Well, here's my retelling of a Jewish version of that, from 18th C. Eastern Europe:
To err is human... and brings us closer to The Divine. How? Every one of us has our very own connection with God, as if we are tied to God by a rope. Our errors and wrongdoings -- those weaken our connection, as if to fray the rope, even causing it to come apart. But when we see this and repent, ask for forgiveness, and refrain from repeating those same wrongs - our connection is repaired. It's as if where that rope had frayed and come apart has now been knotted back together. And with that knotting comes an even closer, even stronger connection. So yes, to err is human... and so is doing something about it. For it is in our doing something about it that we not only reconnect ourselves with The Divine, we strengthen that connection.God, however frayed or broken we think our connection to You might be, help us to know that we are also blessed with whatever -- and whomever -- it will take to strengthen our reconnection to You.
[Hasidic Teaching. "Those Who Err Are Closest to God.” Rosh Hashanah Readings: Inspiration, Information and Contemplation. Ed. Dov Peretz Elkins. Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2006. 5.]