There is a well-known saying: “Sometimes one day changes everything; sometimes years change nothing.”
Can one day really change everything? Can one day really change anything?
The Talmudic tractate that discusses Rosh Hashanah is titled, appropriately enough, Rosh Hashanah. But the tractate that discusses Yom Kippur is titled, oddly enough, Yoma, meaning “the day.”
The great 16th century Talmudist, the Maharsha, explains the reason for this. His brilliant analysis includes the anatomy of the day, the World to Come and Satan.
His explanation is brought home by a moving story of how one single act on one single day changed the life of a junior high-school student who was about to commit the most desperate of all acts – suicide.
But the bottom line is that yes, one single day – in this case the 25 hours of Yom Kippur or Yoma – has the power of changing all eternity.
As we will learn, the secret to a good and healthy year lies in the secret to a good and healthy day.