http://revach.net/article.php?id=4765

Section: Moadim   Category: Around The Year
Rav Yisroel Salanter - A Flash Of Light Can Help You Out Of The Woods

We act like tzadikim during Aseres Ymei Tshuva but when it is over we revert back to our old ways.  What did we gin by this?  When asked why learn mussar if the moment after the Sefer is closed we revert back to our own behavior, Ra Yisroel Salanter offered the following Mashal.

A man was traveling through the forest and towards the evening he realized that he lost his way.  He sat down and bemoaned his plight wondering if he will make it out alive.  Night fell and he cried about his deteriorating situation.  Later storm clouds opened up and poured down buckets of torrential rains muddying the forest.  The man was forlorn, now he would get sick and not even last long enough to merit a miracle.  

Suddenly there was lightening and thunder and the man rejoiced!  True the light only last a fraction of a second but in that second as the midnight skies became lit, he saw the path leading out of the forest.

Rav Elya Weintraub zt"l explained that just like the lightening is only a flash of light yet can show a person the way out of the forest even in the dark, so too Aseres Yimei Tshuvah may grant us light for a few days after which we will revert back to the darkness.  However the moment of light will show the person who is lost, but looking for his way, out of the darkness.  It will lead him to the path he must work hard and follow to travel the long journey to a life of Torah and Avodah.