“Desires or temptations may deflect us temporarily from being ourselves – [from] being true to our nature, but that is not a part of, nor does it affect our true nature.” – Lisa Samick, Director of the Judah Nadich High School at Park Avenue Synagogue
Ms. Samick wrote this in a recent newsletter discussing “teshuvah“, which translates as a “return to the self” and which is the Hebrew name for the 10-day period between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
Teshuvah is the essence of the Jewish High Holy Days. Because it is a time to ask for forgiveness from those we have wronged, Teshuvah is often thought of as a time for repentance. However, the essence of Teshuvah is reflection – on our true nature, which is inherently good and decent, and how our actions and even our thoughts in the last 12 (lunar) months may have not quite measured up to our true nature. We may have misbehaved, but it is our inherent nature to be good and decent. Thus, we reflect on the misbehavior, ask for forgiveness when it is possible and pray for another chance to live in a manner that matches up more closely to our true selves.
I know it’s a little early to start talking about the High Holy Days, but this just seemed so yoga to me.