Rebecca Masinter

Aseres Yemei Teshuva - A New Perspective

People often think the order of events in our lives is - we make mistakes, then do teshuvah, and try to do better. But in truth, the creation of teshuvah preceded the world. It preceded any and all human activity or sin. The true cycle is that Hashem created teshuvah because our job as humans is to grow and develop, to stretch and accomplish, and it is impossible to do that without making mistakes. Mistakes are part of the process of growth - they’re inevitable because they are part of how we improve. That is why teshuva, the opportunity to reorient ourselves and get back on track is so crucial. Hashem doesn’t want us to be perfect from the get-go. He didn’t create us that way. He created us as beings who will mess up as we grow and therefore He gave us teshuvah. I want to share this with you now because mothers are often very hard on ourselves. We all see where we could have done better with each of our children. “If only I had today’s perspective when I was parenting my eldest,” we think. And introspection is good and teshuvah is wonderful, but we need to know that we couldn’t have gotten to where we are today without the process of learning on the job that came earlier, and we won’t get to where we will be next year without making more mistakes, learning from them, and doing Teshuvah. Hashem doesn’t want us to be perfect mothers from Day One and our children don’t need perfect mothers either. They need to see us go through this process that Hashem put into the world. We try our hardest with the tools we have at any given time, we make mistakes, then we do Teshuvah and start again. I also wanted to share this because I believe this is an important lesson to share with our children. This precious opportunity of Teshuvah is in this world because Hashem knew we would all need it. This is how He created us - flawed human beings who become better people through the process of trying. Sometimes we get things wrong and then we have the wonderful gift of teshuvah, when we can pivot and begin again from a better place. Hashem doesn’t expect perfection of us and we don’t expect perfection of ourselves or our children. We are all human and that is why He created teshuvah before even creating Adam and Chava 5783 years ago. Have a gmar chasima tova. May we all be blessed with a year of bracha, a year of connection, healthy relationships, fulfillment, health, simcha, and geulah.