But then I started to really think about the whole idea of setting the clocks back. Were we really able to change time? What if I were to change my watch back two hours? Why, everyone would think that was ridiculous. I’d be late for appointments and miss out on many activities. So, setting back the clocks only works because we as a collective whole do so. But who are we really tricking? When it’s convenient; setting the clock ahead, when it’s not convenient, setting it back. I wonder what Hashem thinks of all this as He watches our attempts at manipulating His creation.
Now setting the clocks may give us an extra hour for a variety of tasks, but it doesn’t literally help us to go back in time. What if it could? What if I could go back to yesterday when I made that comment which I wished I hadn’t, or to last week when I forgot to hand in my assignment on time, or even last month when I missed the deadline to sign up for a phone plan that was even better than the one I currently have. What if I could just turn back the clock and correct all those “mistakes”? Wouldn’t my life be so much smoother, so much easier, so much more peaceful?
Avraham Avinu had 10 tests which he went through; the ultimate one which culminated in his readiness to sacrifice his son Yitzchak’s life after being childless for so many years. Each of the tests that Avraham faced, he did so with vitality, exuberantly proclaiming to Hashem, “Here I am.” He confidently tackled the challenges without thoughts of despair or distress. Furthermore, after each test not once did Avraham complain or question his role in life. Rather, he persevered forward moving on to the next phase of Hashem’s plan.
Why don’t we read about Avraham bemoaning his fate and reviewing his life to Sara? I can just imagine the conversation would sound something like this: Avraham: Oh Sara, I can’t believe that I referred to you as my sister. That was so silly. I should have just said you were my wife. And what was I thinking shrugging off Hashem to go and take care of three strangers whom I didn’t even know? If only I could turn back the clock and relive those moments, surely I would do things better!
The reason we never heard such a discussion is because it directly contradicts that which Hashem created the world for. Our mission is to make a deira bitachtonim (dwelling place) here on Earth. The way we achieve this is to take the imperfect and cultivate and transform it into perfection. The “mistakes” we make in life are what gives us the chance to grow, learn, persevere and challenge ourselves to reach new heights.
Regarding Avraham’s tests, the question asked is why did Hashem test Avraham? Didn’t Hashem know how Avraham would react? Hashem tested Avraham not so Hashem could know but rather so that Avraham could know what he was capable of achieving. You see, going back in time may give us the opportunity to eliminate our mistakes, but it also eradicates our opportunity for development and growth. So while an extra hour is a welcomed benefit it’s always better to take two steps forward rather than one step back!