How does the past influence the present and the future?
Can the future influence the past?
The Former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks teaches regarding the three sections that make up the core of the prayer service on Rosh Hashana, that zichronot, malchuyot, and shofarot correspond to the past, present, and future.
His unique insight is that we are not prisoners to our past, nor even necessarily defined by it. We can ‘change’ the past for the better. We see this when we do teshuva: The Talmud teaches an incredible idea: When we do teshuva from love, even our intentional sins become counted as merits! (B. Yoma 86b). In other words, those mistakes that I made can be seen as having led me to make better decisions and are part of my story. It is important that this is not an Orwellian ‘whoever-controls-the-present-controls-the-past’ by rewriting history, rather it is a type of sublimation of that history when I do teshuva from love, and can essentially re-write my own history. It is less of my past influencing my future, and more of my future influencing my past.
What an incredibly empowering moment! How I behave in the present can essentially ‘re-write’ my past! I can fix things that are behind me–it’s never too late!
Friends, as we come to the end of the Hebrew Year 5777, I want to bless you with a year of health, prosperity, growth and discovery. May you find fulfillment in your endeavors!
May you and your family be written and sealed for a fantastic year!