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TAKING STOCK
Initial Public Offering: Aseret Yemei Teshuvah (NYSE: AYT)

by Noah Hartman    
Torah from Dixie Staff Writer    

America Online, eat your heart out. I just got the hottest stock pick of the year. It didn’t come from any broker; it didn’t come from my friend at Merrill Lynch; and it didn’t come from any historical figure whose face appeared on a potato chip in South America. It came from G-d.

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America Online, eat your heart out. I just got the hottest stock pick of the year. It didn’t come from any broker; it didn’t come from my friend at Merrill Lynch; and it didn’t come from any historical figure whose face appeared on a potato chip in South America. It came from G-d.

G-d gave me and all of us the AYT (Aseret Yemei Teshuvah), the Ten Days of Repentance, which begin with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur. Jews of all observance levels and backgrounds are to use this time for evaluating their lives, considering what changes are necessary, and for overall introspection. While we all hope to be inscribed in the Book of Life at the end of these days, we must consider ourselves beinonim neither entirely righteous nor entirely wicked in the meantime. We are essentially "in-betweeners," who are no better and no worse than our neighbors.

The Ten Days really are quite significant. We add prayers to the regular service, we make resolutions, and we try to improve ourselves. However, we must not get caught up in the fact that the Ten Days are only ten days. If you own a stock, don’t you check up on it more than one week a year? This is a long-term investment and must be seen as such. Even though G-d only designated 2.8% of the year as these days of repentance, we would all benefit from carrying this mindset with us the rest of the year as well.

Everybody knows that nobody is perfect. (Why hasn’t anyone named his child "Nobody" yet?) That is why G-d gave us these ten special days. Knowing that we are not perfect, He gave us these few days to remind us that we must strive to improve. We all have work to do in terms of becoming better people, which is really what G-d wants from us as Jews. Who we are today might be beyond our control, but who we will become is entirely within it.

Introspection is something that every Jew alas, every person could benefit from if done on a regular basis; when the market is open, you should be checking your stock. Fortunately, Hashem gave us ten special days on which the market is open just for us. The AYT is an investment that we all must make, and it is up to each one of us as to how much or how little we benefit. G-d has guaranteed hefty returns for minimal investment in a risk-free stock. Can your broker say that?

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Noah Hartman, an alumnus of Yeshiva Atlanta and NYU graduate school, is teaching History and Music at the Jonas Salk Science School in Manhattan.

You are invited to read more Rosh Hashanah articles.

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