Our Gemara on Amud Aleph and Beis discuss the concept of וְיוֹם אֶחָד בַּשָּׁנָה חָשׁוּב שָׁנָה one day of the year counts as a whole year. For example, the year for counting the reign of kings begins in Nissan. Thus, a king who was coronated on the last day of Adar, will already be starting his second year the next day, on day One Nissan. However, the phrase יוֹם אֶחָד בַּשָּׁנָה חָשׁוּב שָׁנָה is too delicious to leave alone without darshening it.
Arvei Nachal speaks of the nested cycles within the days and years of a person’s life, where technically each day of one’s life is destined to correct and restore a different spiritual spark of the Neshama. However, within any single day is the entire year, and so one can repair and elevate an entire year by the good actions of one day, if they activate all the sparks.
Now I would like to make a sincere effort at understanding this in a meaningful psychological manner. What does it mean, every day there is another spark that needs to be elevated? It helps to imagine the world in which these words were written. There are no electric lights, no uninterrupted supply of so-called seasonal fruits, and no perfect indoor climate control. Indeed every day felt different. The Sun rose differently, angled in the sky differently, and set differently. The same in regard to the moon whose light you navigated by. The air, coldness, dampness and heat was changing. There were reminders of death in the winter, and life in the spring and summer. Unconsciously, the experiences, odors and sensations from this reminded you of the same time in past years. Not to become overly nostalgic and romanticize aspects of ancient life, because I am sure it may have been dreary and harsh at times, but there must have been an attunement to Earth, nature and the rhythms of time that we cannot imagine. Some of you who are my age or older, and grew up before social media, wonder what kind of world our children lost. You can take morbid comfort in the notion that it’s not the first loss but rather one in a series of rapid changes that began in the industrial revolution.
Outdoor time is important for mental health, according to a study conducted with over 200,000 people the findings were significant. ( https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health )
A team led by Mathew White of the European Centre for Environment & Human Health at the University of Exeter, found that people who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t. One final significant point: Two hours was a hard boundary: The study showed there were no benefits for people who didn’t meet that threshold.
If the world is a book, then God wrote it. We cannot learn what He has to say while staying locked up in concrete boxes. I am not saying this is the entire truth of this kabbalistic idea, but spending time outdoors might help you find that truth better. What are you supposed to get out of today? What is special and different about today over any other day? Get off your phone, go outside and experience it!
Translations Courtesy of Sefaria, (except when, sometimes, I disagree with the translation .)