The Yom Kippur Bank Account

Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal

On Rosh Hashanah, we are inscribed in the book of judgement for the New Year and on Yom Kippur, it is sealed.

What happens between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is the Ten Days of Repentance.  This is when we have a chance to make right that which we did wrong by making amends and committing to doing better in the future.

However, I think our relationship with G-d is complicated.  Like we say in Avinu Malkeinu, G-d is our Father and our King.  It is a relationship of both love and awe!  And we aren’t going to fool G-d with any last minute empty or robotic, “so sorrys.”

Recently, I heard on the TV show, Married at First Sight, the father says to his son who’s getting married (to someone he’s never even met), to treat the relationship with his spouse like a bank account. You want to put in more than you take out.  Your deposits should be greater than your withdrawals.  That is how you develop relationship savings “for a rainy day.”

Well, perhaps with G-d, there is a big element of this as well.  We ask G-d to help us with this, that, and the other thing.  G-d save us.  G-d help us be successful.  We take and we take and we take.  We also, do wrong.  We neglect the study of Torah, prayer, and the mitzvot.  We sin against G-d and against our fellow man.  We have plenty of reasons and excuses.  Again we make withdrawal after withdrawal from our Heavenly account.

Perhaps our accounts are at a low balance, at zero or worse yet, it’s in negative territory, and we have a large debt, G-d forbid, to pay back to Hashem.  Woe unto us, when G-d comes calling to ask for our repayment.  Isn’t it better, like the father advised his son, to put in (deposit) more than you take out (withdraw)?  Better we should have merits saved in our favor and plenty of it for that matter!

Instead of worrying about accumulating earthly and material treasures: money, houses, cars, exotic travel, and more, we would be well advised to pay attention to our Heavenly treasure that we should be accumulating.  Whether tomorrow, when our judgement will be sealed on Yom Kippur or when we, G-d forbid, die and are called for an accounting before our Maker, we should have plenty in the spiritual bank to speak well for us.

I think it’s definitely hard for us because unlike our physical bank statement, which we can look up and see online, 24×7, our spiritual accounting of ourselves is not so accessible or transparent.  First of all, how often do we even really bother to look at ourselves honestly in the mirror: are we good Jews, decent people, do we have integrity, are we compassionate and giving.  Secondly, even if we care and dare to look, we don’t get a  clear balance at the end of the spiritual bank account that tells us that you are clearly in the good zone or the bad.  Some days are better than others.  And maybe lately, we have been trending up or scarily down in our thoughts, words, and actions?  Do we lie to ourselves and think we are better people than we really are?  Do we have certain life circumstances or challenges that we believe, rightfully or wrongly, need to be taken into account?  Do we really know how G-d will judge us on Yom Kippur and at the end of our days?  Too bad, we can’t just look up our spiritual bank statement online and be able to easily see for ourselves that we need to be saving more and/or spending less.

However, even if we are a little blind to our own accounting, certainly, just like we don’t want to be physically poor or bankrupt in this world, we definitely don’t want to be coming spiritually empty at Yom Kippur or when we arrive in the world to come.  Put in more than you take out!  Much more if you can!  That’s what every parent should teach their child about their bank or brokerage savings account, building healthy relationships with others, and most importantly, how to live our lives towards our Father in Heaven and the King of the Universe.

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a business and technology leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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