Karen Wolfers Rapaport

The Ten Days of Repentance: An Inspired Space

Photo by Robin Schreiner on Unsplash
Photo by Robin Schreiner on Unsplash

When you hear the word “vacuum,” what comes to mind? Merriam-Webster defines a vacuum as “a space absolutely devoid of matter”.

But this leads to some misunderstanding because Aristotle was right – nature abhors a vacuum. (1)

Nothing always contains something.

What does a space contain with nothing in it? A space contains particles.

Assuming we pulled all the particles out of a certain volume, we could still never empty it. Phenomena like vacuum fluctuations, gravity, dark matter, and very importantly, energy, would remain. (2)

But usually, our spaces are not really that “empty”.  We fill them with our intentions, wisdom, actions, power and our vibrational footprint.  And so much more.

Spaces are filled with the content of our lives. And it is we that determine that content. (3)

The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is an inspired space. It is known as the ten days of Teshuva, or repentance. It’s a time when according to the sages, G-d is very close to every Jew. “Search for G-d while He can be found, call upon Him when He is near.” (3)

Many people feel this closeness, but can’t necessarily articulate it in words. It’s a sense that we are far from alone.

It is a time to try to do better, think better, feel better, and definitely, live better.

In other words, these days encourage us to think of the space we inhabit in the world and how to utilize it to become the best content developer we possibly can.

Throughout this period, it’s good to be thinking about what should stay and what should go, what to maximize and what to minimize, what to transform and what to leave alone.

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves, do we fill our spaces to capacity, and what exactly is the composition of the matter that makes up our space?

Remember Aristotle’s, “nature abhors a vacuum”? Apparently, nature will make sure that any empty space is filled, if you don’t.

For many, moments of boredom, sadness, fear, and lack of purpose provide those empty spaces. It seems part of the human experience. Negative and destructive thoughts, words, and influences ooze and leak in through the fissures in our spaces.

There may not be enough energy or impetus to create new content.  But content somehow will be provided. It will come from different sources. But it certainly will not be coming from a life-affirming, conscious space.

On the other hand, most of us at some point nourish our spaces with energized and satisfying content, content that uplifts, content that’s healthy, and content that’s growth-oriented.

This is why we must tend to our spaces.  We must measure their volume, examine their content, determine what condition they are in, identify the kind of vibrations that emanate from them, and check if the Divine is felt in them.

And during the span of the ten days of Teshuva, or repentance, we have the space in which to do that.

  1. Wood, Charlie. “How the Physics of Nothing Underlies Everything”. Quantamagazine. August 9th, 2022
  2. Baird, Christopher S.  “How Does the Expansion of the Universe Make Outer Space a Vacuum”. Science Questions with Surprising Answers. October 8th, 2013.
  1. Lipskar, Sholom. Based on “To be Complete or Simple”. Audio.
  2. Isaiah 55:6. Tractate Rosh Hashanah 18a.


About the Author
Karen Wolfers Rapaport is an educator, therapist , writer, and proud mother. Leading groups throughout Israel, she integrates psychology, philosophy, and language instruction for college courses and clients that include the Office of the Prime Minister , Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics , Intel, Mobileye, and Yad Vashem. Karen is also a featured writer for several Jewish websites. She is passionate about unifying people from different cultural and religious backgrounds and creating transformative experiences.
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