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The Day Is Almost Over, and You Still Haven’t Repented!

The Day Is Almost Over, and You Still Haven’t Repented!


It’s Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, when we are comparable to the angels. For these 26 hours, we can reach the heights of spirituality and cleanse ourselves of all past wrongdoing. As we celebrate our utterly indestructible relationship with G‑d, we can recharge our spiritual batteries for the coming year.

As the day progresses, the realization dawns: the month of Elul, when G‑d is so near, is long gone; the Ten Days of Repentance are mostly behind us; and now, much of this awesome day, this once-a-year-opportunity, has also passed.

And yet, as we watch the sun start to set, rather than the stirrings of our soul, we hear the strong grumblings of our stomach and feel the throbbing pain in our head. A sense of intense disappointment sets in with the realization that we haven’t even begun to achieve what we were meant to.

With these disheartening thoughts, we slowly drag ourselves back to shul. Our hearts are heavy as we read the familiar story from the book of Jonah.

G‑d commanded the prophet Jonah to travel to the city of Nineveh, an enemy of Israel, and warn of its imminent destruction due to the iniquitous behavior of its inhabitants. Aware that if he succeeds and the people repent, Nineveh would continue to pose a threat to his nation, Jonah tries to escape his mission. He boards a ship and when a storm brews, he is thrown into the sea and swallowed by a huge fish. Eventually, Jonah realizes that he can’t escape his destiny and travels to Nineveh, where the people hearken to his prophecy and wholeheartedly change their ways.

A despondent Jonah resting under a dying tree hears G‑d address him: “You are sorry for the plant for which you have neither labored, nor made grow . . . shall I not then, spare Nineveh, the great city, wherein more than 12 times 10,000 people live . . .?”

Jonah’s story teaches us that no one can escape from G‑d or the mission He has for us.

But why do we read this particular story—about a nation that was an enemy of the Jewish people—on Yom Kippur, a day that represents the intimate, indestructible bond between the Jewish soul and G‑d?

As the sun fades and our chance slips away, perhaps this is precisely the reassurance that we need to hear: G‑d cares about all people, even a sinning nation threatening His children. No matter how low we have fallen, G‑d gives us another opportunity. To the bottom of the ocean floor, to the depths of a fish’s belly, G‑d coaxes us to come closer and try harder.

No one is too far gone. Each and every one of us is important. G‑d will not give up until we hear His message and better our ways.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Ambra Caruso Phoenix Arizona October 17, 2016

Very good article. That was a very beautiful article. It's the truth. That's what mostly happens to all of us at a point in our lives. We sometimes forget the purpose and then realize what we must do. Bless you and all of G-d's people. Reply

Leticia Mexico October 13, 2016

Thank you! I needed to hear this ♡ Reply

Anonymous October 12, 2016

Amazing An amazing thing in the book of jona: in chapter 1:5, when the violent storm threathened to brake the boat, the sailors were afraid and cried out each one to the different gods they believed in. After jona told who was his GD, and the storm was stilled, the sailors all greatly feared The Name of the Gd of the hebrews, see verse 16! So even when jona was disobidient to the first calling that he was given, Gd turned the situation around, and he was still used as a light for the nations! Reply

jim dallas October 7, 2016

several things surface in this well composed piece the first is that a mission is a mission 'cause G-d cares a great deal about His Personal Business, everything, everybody, everywhere! even the most diminished of us can have a job on His Behalf.
another thing is the writer really brought home JUST EXACTLY WHO the jews are, that meaning they ARE those slaves come out of egypt back then! them and their offspring! then we add in the crowd of serious converts and you have QUITE A CROWD of very special people and human beings. the hebrew and the jews! what more could one want? Reply

JDV October 6, 2016

Yom Kippur So many people try to run from their commitments or vocations but in the long run, it doesn't work. Far better to acknowledge what your responsibilites from the beginning. In the long run, you will be better off. Reply

Roman Ustron, Polin October 6, 2016

Iom Kippur
YOM KIPPUR 11.10.2016
Readings : Leviticus 16:1-34
Numbers 29:7-11
Leviticus 18:1-30
Isaiah 57:14-58:14
Jonah 1:1-4:11
Micah 7:18-20
Leviticus desribes for us all kinds of offerings made by ancient Israelis which were established by God, including the Feast of Yom Kippur, a day of mourning and a fast for the repentance of their sins, the worst of which beeing desribed in the second Leviticus reading [very common in the modern world even among those who seem to be believers] and following this the Atonement made by offerings. These offerings were made by the High Priest in the Tabernacle, who could enter into the Holy Place once a year, this exactly on the day of Yom Kippur for this purpose.
Isaiah describes to us the kind of the repentance that pleases God and that which does not.
Unfortunately there is not place to write more Reply

alice Torrance October 6, 2016

Thanks...beautiful article. Reply

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