Looking Back and Looking Up
The last Shabbat of the year 5771 is followed in many communities by the recital of the Selichot prayers leading up to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
More than prayers the Selichot service is an appeal to Heaven for forgiveness of the sins committed in the year gone by. It is also a time for Jews to reflect on the spiritual heights they are capable of reaching if they truly repent their errors and resolve not to repeat them.
Perhaps a mashal for aspiring to such heights can be seen in the competition between two oil-rich Arab states as to who can build a taller building. Envious of the construction in Dubaiof the world's tallest building (838 meters), the Saudi Arabians decided to build an even taller one (one kilometer) at an estimated cost of 1.23 billion dollars. (How ironic that the company handling this project is headed by the brother of Osama Bin Laden who was responsible for the Twin Towers tragedy!)
As others look upward in terms of towers, we must look upwards to Heaven and aspire to reach greater heights of service to G-d and man in the year to come.