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One Day at a Time

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 an incredible amount of wisdom in that expression. That’s because we have a tendency to view time as one complete unit, and therefore get caught up in the past. If yesterday was a “bad” day, it means today doesn’t have much of a chance. But in truth, each day is a new creation and a new opportunity. This is what is meant by what we say in our prayers, “He who renews every day the Act of Creation.”

The Torah prescribes a day-based waiting period depending on the severity of the impurity with which a person comes in contact. 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 waters of the mikvah, 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 What we didn’t take advantage of yesterday is no longer applicable, because God never creates the same day twice. We must say to ourselves, “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 don’t feel purified? I must not be discouraged. Depending on the extent of my impurities, I must now be patient and count each day, but in the end, I, too, will “eat of the holy things.”

During Pesach we strive to become a free people. The slavery we are freed from is most likely not the physical type. It’s not a matter of running away from a taskmaster with a whip, or a boss with a big mouth. The freedom we experience during this time is about recognizing that we have a Creator and that everything, even seemingly routine and natural occurrences, are under His direct control. When we accept that He is in charge, and that no matter what difficulties and craziness we experience, everything is proceeding according to plan, we become free people. This is especially important to remember while preparing for Pesach itself, when we may feel overwhelmed by the enormous amount of work needed to properly usher in this Yom Tov.

Right now is the perfect opportunity to begin living in the moment. Don’t get caught up worrying about yesterday or being stressed about tomorrow. We have the power to live each day as it comes if we acknowledge that God is in charge. It was He who freed us from slavery in Egypt to bring us to the Land of Israel, and it is He who is waiting to redeem us from our stresses and worries to bring us to personal freedom and joy, Amen!

Based on Likutey Halakhot, Hilkhot Birkhot HaShachar 5:41

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