A child’s first breath is as much a miracle for us as it is for the baby. After nine months, oxygen, which previously flowed through the fetus’s veins from the mother’s own blood, now has to be processed by an untested lung — an organ needing such precision and systems coordination that it would put the skills of a NASA technician to shame.
Is a lung practical? Is the act of walking practical in a world where things do not stand on less than three legs? Yet, everything for this child is possible, everything it will try.
As children grow up, they learn apathy — or to be more accurate, adults teach them. Limitations are something we learn. The agility of our tongues to say a myriad of “I cant’s” has destroyed our ability to dream. We become so clear and definite on what is or is not possible that we have become predictable. There is no spontaneity left in us. We have lost the spark in our living.
If we could just stop saying, “I can’t,” a new world would open up. Try taking “I can’t” out of your vocabulary. Be serious about it. Every time you say “I can’t,” give 10 dollars to charity.
Yom Kippur is about stopping to say “I can’t” and becoming an “I can” person. It is the day when we cast away the mistakes that define our limitations. On Yom Kippur, we affirm: “These mistakes are not me. I can achieve greater and bigger. I only have to try.”
King David told us: “[G-d] opens His hand and gives to all those who want” (Psalm 145:16). In truth, we can do whatever we want. The only condition is that we have to "want." If we don't want, then G-d cannot give.
Yom Kippur is a time to return. A time to dream again the wildest of dreams. A time to rethink and regain our refreshing hope in life.
B yRabbi Stephen Baars
Originally from London, Rabbi Stephen Baars resides in Rockville, Maryland, and serves as executive director of Aish Seminars. An educator and marriage counselor for the past 25 years, Rabbi Baars and his wife, Ruth, are blessed with seven children. Learn more about Rabbi Baars at www.getbliss.com and www.core9.live.