As we approach the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it is critical to recognize that in life, not only are there second chances, but there are approximately 30,000 chances to get it right!
The average lifespan of a person these days is about 80 years, depending on how many and what Hashem blesses a person with, so there are 80 Rosh Hashanahs and Yom Kippurs to be sorry for what you did wrong in the year, to apologize, to commit to doing right, and then to actually do better in the future.
But teshuvah is really not just a yearly process, it is a daily one. And 80 years is almost 30,000 days, with every day that we wake up, get up, and start up the process of another day again, we have the opportunity to get it right this day, this time around!
How many days do we exhaust ourselves working at our education, jobs, dealing with family, friends, and colleagues, but when we lay down to go to sleep at night, we recognize (or should) that we did not get it right–that we made critical mistakes in what we thought, said, and did–how we dishonored ourselves, our G-d, and the people we care about. But alas, there is tomorrow. And when we awake, and see the sunshine rise over the horizon, breathe in the air of a new day, we get up and have the opportunity to try afresh and correct our wrongs.
Every day that we awake and arise is a great opportunity to try again where we failed in prior days and we can potentially think holier thoughts, say kinder words, and treat each other better, more compassionately and righteously.
It reminds me of the movie, 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, where Sandler falls in love with Barrymore, but due to a prior accident she awakes every day with short term memory loss and can’t remember him and he has to start all over again to try to reestablish their relationship. It’s an endless cycle of try one day and get up the next to start all over again.
However, that story is all of our stories. We try each day (or we don’t try as hard as we should) and we go to sleep and awake for another day and another chance. It’s so crucial that we use the precious time that we are given in life to learn, grow, and purify our souls before we return to Hashem. The question is will 30,000 chances be enough for us to learn those critical lessons to be better people and fix what we are supposed to in our life and before our death.
In another show on television called, Six Feet Under, there is one more important storyline to consider and that is of a family or morticians, who see people brought in every day that have died tragically one way or another, some in old age and others perhaps way too prematurely. The point is that even if we treat every day as another opportunity to right our wrongs in life, we never really know how many days we have to get there. Maybe it’s not 30,000, but G-d forbid, only a few or even just one more. That’s why every day has to count to the maximum, and we need to try our very best to finally “get it right,” before the clock of our physical existence runs out along with the chance for teshuvah and tikkun olam.