What is Selichos all about?
Selichos means that a man must make some time for hisbonenus, for thinking. שימו לבבכם על דרכיכם – Put your minds on your path in life. Are you walking in the right way? When we say Selichos in the month of Elul, so every day we’re saying, נחפשה דרכינו ונחקרה – let us search out our ways and investigate. All the frum Jews are saying that. But do you do it? How many frum Jews have stopped and given five minutes to think over the past year? Believe me, very few. Five minutes inventory, five minutes bookkeeping is very little for a whole year of business. It would be a great thing if somebody could boast, “I’m a man! I fulfilled נחפשה דרכינו ונחקורה. I spent five minutes thinking of the past full year.” It’s a very poor little boast, but halevei v’halevei.
At least two minutes you should spend! Did you spend two minutes? Even on Yom Kippur, do you spend two minutes thinking about your past year? People are talking, but they don’t even know what they’re saying. They say, נחפשה דרכינו, let’s search out our ways and make an inventory, and then they forget about actually doing it. It would be a nice inventory if you spend two minutes on your business. But not even two minutes are spent.
And it’s so essential. It’s imperative. You must have some time to think. Unless you want to continue in your blindness until you fall over the precipice when it’s all over and then it’s too late. At the end you’ll realize that your life has been wasted for a lack of using your mind. The golden opportunity of life comes once in history – you won’t come back again. And that’s what Selichos is for; it’s meant to wake you up.
TAPE # 155 (February 1977)