Let My People Know

"Man is given a certain amount of time"


There is a phrase in the book of Ecclesiastes: "Or ever the silver cord be loosed … " (12:6). 

This cord has been likened to an umbilical cord binding man to God, a cord made up of numerous strands, the six hundred and thirteen commandments of the religious life. 

Whenever a man transgresses, he cuts one of the strands and, strand by strand, severs himself from God.

Each severance is called "karet."

As we know, it does not usually work that way immediately-death does not follow sin, Man is given a certain amount of time to continue to live, a time to try and repair the severed thread, to tie it together by repentance and right action. 

And it is said that a strand so tied together is stronger than one that has never been torn. 

Just as a broken bone that forms a hard knob when it knits together, making it stronger than before. 

This ultimately is the proof of the repentant sinner: 

He is more steady and powerful than before.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From "On Transgression" in The Long Shorter Way  by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz