According to the rabbis, it is no coincidence that we read Parashat Nitzavim, every year, on the Shabbat immediately before Rosh Hashana. The Parashah begins "today, you stand before the Lord your God, all of the heads of the tribes, the leaders, all of Israel..."
Rosh Hashana is traditionally referred as Yom HaDin - the day we stand before God in judgement.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslav was intrigued by the word "today" "HaYom" in our torah reading, with regards to the day of judgement. He said the reason that the verse emphasizes "Hayom," "today," is to teach us that yesterday and tomorrow are one's downfall. Yesterday and tomorrow pull us away from being able to devote ourselves to God in the present."
During the High Holy Days, we spend a lot of time reflecting on the past. We do so in hopes of being better and creating a better future. Nevertheless, as much as we may want to, we cannot change the past, and we have no idea what will happen in the future. Yet, we spend so much of our time thinking about what has already happened, and worried about what might come next, that we forget to be in the present.
While the focus on the holiday may be our behavior in the past so that we may be better in the future, I think it's it's also important to remember to take advantage of the opportunity of today, and every day that we have to be together, to celebrate together, and to pray together, helping us to become closer to each other and to God.
My hope and prayer for all of us is that while we reflect on the past and look towards the future, we remember to appreciate the gift that is the now.
Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah. A happy, healthy, and sweet New Year!