We can learn a valuable lesson from this: How much can be accomplished -- how high we can go, in just one day. If we would only try, and utilize our time wisely, there are immeasurable improvements we could make, with the Help of Hashem.
This special time, when we are ascending one number in our counting nightly, is a very good time to think about -- and try to take with us -- this wonderful realization.
Hashem has given us the precious gift of time. Who knows how much we can accomplish with it, B’Ezras Hashem. . .
The religious Jew was in Israel for the High Holidays. On Yom Kippur, during the short recess after Shacharis, he took a walk around the block of the shul. As he was walking, he noticed an obviously secular Jew walking on the other side of the street, carrying several packages. It pained him to see someone desecrate Yom Kippur. And then he suddenly recognized the person as his flight companion.
He went across the street and greeted the non-religious Jew. “We are about to say Yizkor (the prayer recited in memory of the deceased on certain occasions) in shul,” he explained. “Won’t you do this much for the departed souls of your dear parents, wife and children? Won’t you come inside and say Yizkor in their memory?”
At first the non-religious Jew refused to hear of it, but it wasn’t long before he conceded. As he entered the shul, the friendly gabbai welcomed him warmly and patiently helped him through the Yizkor prayer. He asked for the exact Hebrew names of the man’s martyred father, mother and wife. Then he asked him for the names of his children. Crying openly, the man said the name of his eldest son. The gabbai paled and asked him to repeat the name. The man repeated the name once more. The gabbai exclaimed: “That’s my full Hebrew name!”
The shul erupted in pandemonium. It turned out that the gabbai was a young child during the Holocaust. He managed to escape deportation and hid out in the woods until he finally reached a safe haven. After the Holocaust, he came to Eretz Yisroel, thinking that he is the only surviving member of his family. After asking a few more questions, it became clear that the middle-aged secular Jew was none other than the gabbai’s father.
After witnessing the open Hand of Divine Providence, the father turned around completely and became fully religious. He now firmly believed that there is a G-d Who plans everything that transpires, although His Face is sometimes painfully hidden.