THE BOOK OF DAYS

On Rosh Hashanah, Reb Yakov sat in the synagogue. As he listened to the cantor chant, he closed his eyes and began to daydream: The Holy One sat upon the Throne of Judgment, surrounded by angels. Reb Yakov saw himself in the dream. He stood before the Heavenly Court. The angels opened the Book of Life to the page that had Reb Yakov's name inscribed on it. It was filled with all he had done during the past year. Not even the smallest deed had been overlooked. All of Reb Yakov's good deeds were written in black ink on the Credit side of the page. All of his bad deeds were written in red ink on the Debit side of the page. Reb Yakov's many good deeds were balanced against his bad deeds.

In his imagination Reb Yakov watched as the trial took place. All of Reb Yakov's mitzvot turned into angels. They rose to speak in his defense. Then satan, the prosecuting angel, stood up and listed all of Reb Yakov's sins.

Reb Yakov waited for the verdict. He wondered whether he would be inscribed for a year of blessing. He waited and waited. Suddenly the defending angel stood before him.

"Reb Yakov," he said, "the Holy One has not yet rendered a verdict."

"But I don't understand. Why must I wait?"

"Today is the Day of Judgment. On this day three books are opened. One is filled with the names of the completely righteous. Another is filled with the names of the completely wicked."

"Is my name written in either of those books?" asked Reb Yakov.

"No, that is why you must wait," the angel responded. "For both the completely righteous and the completely wicked, the Holy One renders and seals the verdict at once. But your name, Reb Yakov, has been written into the third book---the book that lists those who are not entirely good nor entirely bad."

"What shall become of me?" Reb Yakov wondered.

"Your verdict has been suspended until Yom Kippur. During the Days of Awe, if you repent, pray, and perform acts of tzedakah, then you will be inscribed in the Book of Life."

Suddenly Reb Yakov woke from his daydream. He listened to the cantor chant. As he opened the pages of his prayer book, he promised to return to God in the days ahead.