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    Looking back

    The Torah readings for the final Shabbat before Rosh HaShanah see Moses looking back before the curtain falls on his life.

    A sad moment. He wonders whether his life has achieved anything, whether his leadership has improved his people, whether his efforts are what God expected.

    Maybe he wishes he could hide from scrutiny or at least pretend not to be there. In the words of the Rambam’s Laws of Repentance, he dreams of having a different name and not admitting to the things he has done or failed to do over his 120 years.

    He dreams of doing t’shuvah in the sense of going back to Square One and starting his life all over again.

    In the end he knows none of this is possible, just as his modern-day descendants know we can never go back and begin life again.

    But t’shuvah is not about going back to base but going back to God. T’shuvah says, “God, You gave us countless opportunities which we sometimes utilised but often ignored.

    “But though we are unlikely to reach Moses’ age of 120, today is not yet the end.

    “Even if the time left to us is short, we implore You: please keep the opportunities coming, and we will do our best to use them wisely and well.”

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