You Have Reached Your Destination

googlemaps-icon-100018398-orig.pngDid you ever try to get directions on Google maps?

Once, just for fun, after putting in my address here in the U.S.A, I put in my parents address in London UK as the destination.

Immediately, Google maps came up with the directions. Turn here, turn there, and then swim for 2600 miles.

It was a cute dose of humor that got a little laugh out of me.

I have since discovered that sometime since then, they stopped doing this :(

But it does highlight what an incredible age we live in.

It used to be that if you wanted to get from place to place, especially a distant place, you had look at a complicated map and plot out the directions. (Before maps, you had to rely on asking the local people). This could take a while and you still may make mistakes and take wrong turns. Or perhaps between the printing of the map and your travels, the road had changed, or even closed altogether.

Today we have GPS, and even waze. With a few taps and swipes on your phone, you can get directions to practically anywhere in the world. Just type in the address and voila, you have the exact directions instantly. If there is traffic along the way, you get an updated route, minimizing any unnecessary delay to get to your destination.

But there is one catch. You need to have signal to the satellite. No signal and the GPS doesn't work. You need to be connected.

This reminds me of the focus at this time of the year.

This Shabbat is known as shabbos shuva - The shabbos of repentance. This is because The first word of the haftorah for this week is shuva. Also, the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which we find ourselves in now, are known as the ten days of repentance.

It is the season for repentance.

You may think that repentance is an arduous task which is very difficult to achieve. But the truth is, and in this day and age it is especially so, it is much easier than ever.

Chasidus emphasises that the true meaning of the word teshuvah is not repentance but rather return. To return to our source, to return to Hashem.

The most important aspect of our relationship with Hashem is to be connected. Being connected simply means revealing the desire to have a relationship. Once we we do that, it's like we are sending out a ping to the satellite. and the rest will begin to take care of itself. But we need to have the connection.

Teshuva on Yom Kippur means getting in touch with that voice deep down inside - our soul, that says, I want to connect. I want to do the right thing. I want to be part of something bigger than myself. I want to make this world a better place. We all have that voice deep down, wether we wish it to be, or not. It's called the neshama. This time of the year, is about listening and amplifying that voice.

Once we have the GPS connection, we then should do something concrete each day to express this. To get to the destination we need to move in the right direction. Whether by car, plane, foot or horse and buggy. We should follow the map one step at a time.

Imagine a fellow who says he/she is trying to make money or build a relationship. You ask them, what did you do today to make money? nothing, he/she replies. What did you do this week to strengthen your relationship? No Response.

What would you think?

If we want to express our soul we should choose something concrete that we plan to do each day, or at least once a week that will strengthen our Jewish soul. It could be saying a prayer, reading some Torah, giving charity, helping a friend, or any other mitzvah that you choose. After all, there are six hundred and thirteen to choose from - quite a selection : )

We live in a golden age. In all of history, acting Jewish and being a conduit for the Torah's message of goodness and kindness has never been easier. (Including the recent hiccups and bumps of the last couple of years).

This Shabbat and this Yom Kippur, as we focus oh the theme of teshuvah, let us focus on our internal 'GPS' that is trying to 'ping' the 'satellite' and then let us commit to something practical that we will do in the coming year to actualize the journey.

After all, that is what returning is all about.

Shabbat Shalom and ketiva vachatima tova-May we be inscribed for a good year.

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