In Judaism, the high holydays are a time for self-reflection. This will inevitably look different for each person, since it is self-reflection. I like to take the time to look back on how much I have grown in the previous year. It is a way for me to mark where I am at in my life’s story.
I hope you’ll join me in these ten days of self-reflection. Try taking time each day to think, write or share what was challenging for you about the past year. I will be sharing the question of the day from 10Q here at tacklingtorah.com, as well as on instagram and twitter.
Every high holydays I reflect on the following text:
“There was this Rabbi, Reb Zusya, and he is lying on his deathbed and he is troubled. The people of his community come to him and say ‘Reb Zusya you have lived a wonderful life why now are you afraid of dying, what are you afraid of? Surely you will be rewarded in heaven!’ To which Reb Zusya replies ‘when I stand before G-d and he asks me, Zusya why weren’t you more like Moses? I will have an answer for him. When he asks me why were you not more like King Solomon? I will have an answer for him. But, if he asks me Reb Zusya why weren’t you more like Reb Zusya? What will I say?’ ”.
To me the text says we all are given the ability to be who we are meant to be. We strive to be our ideal selves everyday. Reb Zusya was not looking to be someone else, but rather the best person that he could be, with the abilities he was given. When we succeed at being who we want to be, we are content. Rosh Hashanah begins our opportunity to self-reflect. So that on Yom Kippur we can apologize to our community for having committed a sin, or חטא. We are apologizing for having missed the mark. We apologize for not always being our ideal selves. Perhaps that is why I find this time so meaningful - because I care about personal growth and always striving to be my own ideal self. Thinking about the story of Reb Zusya forces me to question who I am and who I want to be.
Are you being your ideal self everyday? Or are there things you hope to change about yourself this year? Are there people you want to apologize to? Are there times you may have missed the mark?