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A One-Time Opportunity

by Yossi Katz

“The Architect of the world never does the same thing twice. Every day is an entirely new creation” – Reb Noson of Breslov

People like to say, “Today is a new day.” There’s actually an incredible amount of wisdom in that expression. That’s because we have a tendency to view time as one complete unit, and therefore we get caught up in the past. If yesterday was a “bad” day, it means today doesn’t have much of a chance. Truth be told, each day is a new creation. If it weren’t, God wouldn’t bother recreating the world over and over again; after all, who likes reruns?

The Torah prescribes a day-based waiting period depending on the severity of the impurity that a person came in contact with. For example, one who has a minor encounter, like a seminal emission, only has to wait until the sun sets and the next day begins. Someone with a severe impurity, like being in contact with a corpse, requires a seven-day waiting period until he can be purified. This is because each day is different and unique; each day has its own power to cleanse and add additional holiness.

Even after the one who came in contact with a serious impurity has waited seven days and immersed himself in the holy mikvah waters, the Torah says, “And when the sun is down, he shall be clean; and afterward he may eat of the holy things” (Leviticus 22:7). Why should he have to wait? He’s already waited the required amount of days and immersed – shouldn’t that be enough? No, because by waiting just a bit more for the sun to set, he merits receiving the holiness of an additional day – an entirely new creation.

This teaching is very applicable to our own lives. If we feel “unholy” and are dismayed at the prospect of engaging in sincere Torah study, prayer or other spiritual devotions, we should realize that every day is a new opportunity. What we didn’t take advantage of yesterday is no longer applicable because God never creates the same day twice. I must say to myself, “Today I have the ability to receive something entirely new that will never come into existence again! I need to visualize today as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”

But what if I take the initiative yet I don’t feel purified? Don’t be discouraged. Depending on the extent of my impurities, I must now be patient and count each day, and in the end I, too, will “eat of the holy things.”

There are seven characteristics through which God reveals Himself to the world. Each of these is represented by a day of the week. According to the Kabbalah, each characteristic can further be divided into seven, as it itself includes all seven characteristics. Thus, there are 49 possible combinations. Paralleling these are the 49 days of the Counting of the Omer. We count each day of the Omer individually to show that every day contains an opportunity to experience a unique manifestation of Godliness. For this reason, if a day goes by without being counted, one cannot continue his or her daily count with a blessing. Every day is a blessing and should be appreciated for its own unique flavor.

So don’t get caught up worrying about yesterday or pushing things off until tomorrow. Living each day as it comes is the way to prepare to receive the ultimate knowledge and connection to the One Above – the Holy Torah. May we merit to count each day individually – with much blessing! Amen.

Based on Likutey Halakhot, Hilkhot Birkhot HaShachar 5:41

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