Torah Tuesdays

Torah Tuesdays: Hanging in the Balance

Well, here we are in the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, the ten days in between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  In these days our judgments are hanging in the balance, and we are praying for the best.  It’s common for people to  step up their mitzvah observance in order to merit a favorable judgment.  Some people take on certain stringencies during this time.

In theory, this seems pretty simple, right?  You want a good judgment, so you make good choices.  Should be easy.

The past few years, it did seem easy for me.  It was a serious time of year, fate hanging in the balance and all that, so I shaped up, took on some extra customs (like Pas Yisroel), and tried my best to be my best. I felt pretty confident, all super-spiritual and whatnot.  Piece of cake!

You’d think that eventually I’d learn that I am not immune to failing.  Seriously.  I keep thinking I’m perfect, only to constantly rediscover that (surprise!) I’m not.

I don’t know about you all, but I was suuuuper stressed out this Rosh Hashana.  My stress level was through the roof.  Like, reality-tv stress level.  It was not pretty.  I felt like I was being given test after test after test.  But harder than usual.  And also, I was getting failing grades on these tests.  Consistently.


Since it’s the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, and I am all too aware that my judgment from Rosh Hashana is, to some extent, dependent on my actions during these ten days, I’ve been feeling a combination of appalled, freaked out, and apathetic about my dismal state of affairs.

However, I finally snapped out of it today.  I remembered that I CAN change my reactions and my attitudes to more positive ones, I CAN stop being stressed out and I CAN make better choices.

After all, during these ten days, it’s prime time to start moving in a better direction.  This is the time to show Hashem that yeah, we wanna do better.  I know that I’ll probably still slip up, perhaps more than I would like, but that I genuinely want to improve, and that I’m putting forth some effort to do so.  I’ll make a resolution to improve something small and doable (my friend Ruchi has some great suggestions for that), and daven for success in maintaining it.

May we all have success in improving our choices, and may we all have a gmar chasima tovah! 

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6 thoughts on “Torah Tuesdays: Hanging in the Balance

  1. Rivki – This totally makes sense, and the fact that these days are considered so very important has likely ratcheted up your stress! Don’t try to be perfect. Just do your best, as I tell my 8 year old. Shana Tova!!

  2. Sometimes it’s easier when the pressure is on, sometimes it’s harder. Personally, I find the aseret yemei teshuva very difficult because it’s such a long (relatively speaking) period of time to stay truly focused. Of course, ideally I’d be focused all the time, but I’m not even going there.
    My husband and I have been learning hilchot Yom Kippur every night, and it helps set the mood. If you’re someone who enjoys learning from inside sefarim, try it!

    1. Well put, Tali. I usually thrive under pressure, which is one reason I was so bothered by my failure to thrive this year. I love the husband/wife chavrusa idea! Wonderful. :)

  3. I think it’s normal to feel this way during this time of year. It’s an important time of reflection. Just try to breath and enjoy your family. L’Shana Tova.

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