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Eternal Renewal

by Chaim Kramer

This week’s parshah, Kedoshim, contains various laws on different topics.

One verse states, “Arise before the elderly, and honor the learned elder.” The Zohar comments that one should arise BEFORE reaching elderly years! That is, take stock of your life constantly, arise, and repent before reaching elderly years when your strength wanes, and you may not be able to repent properly.

It is natural for young (or younger) people to feel they have plenty of time to settle into life. They are full of life in all their strength and have a whole lifetime to live life fully. However, this is not always the case. Time passes, and passes quickly. Before we know it, we’re at an age where the power of youth is no longer with us. What happens then?

This doesn’t mean that we’ve messed up our lives. Nor does it mean that we have sinned to the point of no return. It is ALWAYS possible to return. It is always possible to rectify an error. But why wait? Why take a chance that life can be cut short? Car accidents, fatal illnesses, severe misfortunes—physical, financial, emotional—are possible. Rebbe Nachman and Reb Noson both teach quite often that a person should take stock of their lives continually to improve each day.

This is as opposed to just going through life, same in same out. Refresh ourselves daily, renew our perspectives each day as it comes. “Don’t be old,” says Rebbe Nachman (Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom #51). Then we can happily age with the knowledge that we have arisen before we grow old, since we renew ourselves all the time!

Have a great Shabbos!

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