1. The two terms,
Bein Kesseh LeAssor
Asseret Yemei HaTeshuvah
are a reminder that, while suspended between the two days of judgement, - Rosh Hashanah, when a person is inscribed for the year and Yom Kippur, when the decree is sealed - one has a chance to repent and amend one's ways.
2. It is because of G-d's love of Israel that He allows the sinner a chance and waits for him or her to repent,
'… because G-d does not want the condemned man to die, but to amend his ways and live' (see Ezekiel 18:32).
3. In the days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, there are extra prayers (
tefillot, tahanunim, selichot
) to be recited carefully, and at length.
4. According to Rabbi Jonah, there are three bases of repentance: remorse,
and abandoning the wrongdoing.
(Prophets) called on the People of Israel to repent, and Israel will not be delivered without repentance. The Torah promised that when Israel repents, it will be the end of the Dispersion period, and the People will be instantly delivered (
'How wonderful is repentance! Yesterday, someone was distant from G-d.… he cried out for help and is not answered… and today, after repenting… he cries out and is answered immediately !'
Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance
6. The rabbis decreed a fast on the anniversary of the assassination of the Sage, Gedaliah. (The story is told briefly in 2
25:22-26, and in full, in
40-43.) The implication is that the murder of a righteous man is comparable in seriousness to the destruction of the Temple, since a fast was declared on the anniversary of the assassination of Gedaliah, just as one was declared n the anniversary of the latter.
7. When a sick man once told him, 'I am afraid of death', Rabbi Hillel of Ratsenshitz replied, 'If you are afraid of life and repent, you will not be afraid of death'.
8. Rabbi Kook, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, was once asked how he could feel love for the sinners and wicked men of Israel. He replied, 'Better that I make the mistake of loving the wrong person than that I make the mistake of having without reason.