Parashat Vayelech, Yom Kippur

Parasha Thoughts

By Rabbi Shlomo Zargari

The train was traveling at a high speed. The inspector was going from car to car to make sure everyone had their tickets. Upon examining a passenger’s ticket, the inspector with a surprised look asked the passenger, “Sir, where are you going?” The fellow said happily: “I’m going to sunny California.” The inspector replied, ”But this train is going east and your destination is west.” The passenger gave a dismissive smile and said, “That’s not a problem, I’ll just sit on the opposite seat.” He got up and sat on the seat facing the back…
Going through life, we often come to the conclusion to change direction. But what is that? What is true teshuva (repentance)? How do we see the difference between true teshuva and otherwise? Our sages answer that we must look at the direction. If the person is facing the King, then we say he is close to the King even though physically he is far. But if he is facing away from the King, we understand he is far from the King. This is the case even when he is close by and even if he is inside the palace…
The direction shows!
One who is yearning to get close to the Creator and to grow in Torah and Misvot everyday more and more is close. Even if he is still committing sins, but has the desire to strengthen himself, he will succeed.
However, if that’s not the direction he is facing and he is not trying to get closer to HaShem and not looking for a way to strengthen himself in Torah and Misvot, he is far from the King. He might look like he is close. He may pray three times a day, make blessings, put on tefillin, and keep Shabbat and kashrut, but in his heart he is far. He is traveling in the wrong direction. He is going away from the King. The direction needs adjusting; it has to be step by step and with guidance.

This is the best decision to make before Yom Kippur.

Shabbat Shalom and Hatima Tova