I get up in the middle of the night, and I’m still 3/4 asleep. My mouth feels dry, and I walk over to the mouthwash to refresh. I reach for the bottle, but I grab the image in the mirror. With my eyes half shut, I don’t even see the bottle itself, just the reflection. My hand hits into the mirror, and I am spurred back to further semi-awakeness and realize my sleepy stupor mistake.
At that moment, I think to myself, this is really a fascinating parable for life itself. What we see or think we see is just a virtual reality; this world is not real. Like the movie, “The Matrix,” it seems like we are truly alive here, but this is just a placeholder for our souls.
When we reach for something, what are we reaching for? Money, power, title, ego, pleasure OR do we choose to reach for what’s real, like following the commandments, compassion, good deeds, and kind words?
In the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah (the 10 days of repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), now is the time to realize what is the reflection and what is the reality. Yes, of course, we need to pay our mortgage and other bill and generally be responsible human beings, but also we need to know from Whom it all comes from and to keep that critical perspective always–remembering to ask: is it the reflection or the real thing? As we approach Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement and holiest day of the year, may G-d hear our prayers, accept our repentance, and grant us a year of good health, happiness, peace, prosperity, and the real meaning and truth of it all.