Each Fall we get this surreal opportunity of reliving an hour that has already passed. It makes me think about the year that has gone by.
If we were given the chance to live over an hour, a week or a year that we had already lived, would we make different choices? We think that we would but would we actually act differently?
The Talmud in tractate Yomah page 86B teaches that when one does true repentance and return to G-d out of love their past misdeeds actually become merits. The explanation for it is that this strong feeling of connection came because of the distance and therefore the distance became a merit. Sort of like when a couple are not getting along and they realize how much it hurts to be apart and that distance draws them so much closer together.
Ultimately what the Talmud is saying is that you can retroactively change your past. You can relive that past hour or that past week even if it is not Groundhog Day!
Menachem Mendel Bluming, Maryland