A troubled woman went to see her rabbi. It was just before the High Holidays, and she was visibly distraught.
Upon sitting in the rabbi’s office, she started crying almost immediately. “Rabbi … I have done so many things wrong in my life. I’ve upset people, and have pulled away from many dear friends. I know I can do better, which makes me even more upset. I’m so very far apart from God.”
The rabbi calmly listened to her. When she was done speaking, he held out a rope.
“This length of rope represents the distance between ourselves and God. When you or I make a mistake, the connection gets severed.” The rabbi cut the rope, letting half of it fall to the ground. “But, if you perform teshuvah, if you are able to move forward in your life, learning and growing, the connection is fixed.” As he was saying this, he was tying the two pieces of the rope back together.
He held out both ropes again. Because of the knot, the length was shorter. He said, "The life with the quickest connection to God is the life that is filled with moments of teshuvah. Our connection with God does not depend on the number of our mistakes. No … it depends on the amount of teshuvah.”