VOLUME 97 NUMBER 9
September 10, 2021
Tishrei 4, 5782
Candlelighting Time 6:58 PM
This Shabbos is the first one of the year and referred to as Shabbos Shuva or Teshuva. It is part of the Ten Days of Repentance and we should examine how to conduct ourselves during this important time. The Haftarah reads that we should take with us words. What are these words and how will that assist us in accomplishing teshuva or repentance?
S’fas Emes provides us with a penetrating glimpse into ourselves. He writes that within each and everyone of us there is Torah. Obviously by some people it is much more noticeable but nonetheless, we all possess at some level not only a proficiency in Torah but the Torah itself! However, it is concealed, and it is necessary to bring it to the fore. That Torah is obscured due to our many sins. Therefore, when we repent, our souls are purged from the iniquities that are darkening its purity. The Haftarah continues that as we eliminate the evil that lurks within us, then we are prepared to take the good and utilize it to its fullest extent. In other words, the process of repentance requires a protocol. First, we must negate our involvement in those areas which we failed. Once we have accomplished that objective, then all the good that is in the world that Hashem has given us as a resource, we must employ to assist us to study Torah better and to perform mitzvos more effectively as well.
Repentance is a difficult road and not easily achieved. We are entrenched in certain modes of behavior and to even slightly modify those patterns that we are so used to requires much effort and determination. However, if we will examine its tremendous benefit, then perhaps it will provide us with an impetus to indeed invest our energy and resolve into this incredible ‘project’.
Maimonides capsulates the process of repentance writing that the sinner, upon repenting, changes his name. This is to state that he is no longer the same person who was capable of committing such a shameful act, rebelling against Hashem. If we examine this point, we will see the extreme success that one can accomplish. Hashem offers us the ability to clean our slate to the extent that whatever we may have done before is totally erased and no longer on our record at all. Indeed, we have become an entirely new person with tremendous opportunities to exercise. Although in our previous self we did not attend to studying Torah with vigor and enthusiasm, now we can reset our moral compass realizing the importance of the Torah and not only set aside more time for its study, but additionally with much more vivacity and passion! And this formula works for everything. Perhaps we were apathetic in performance of mitzvos, we did not fulfill them energetically. However, that was our former self! Now, in our new setting we will have the capacity to attend to observe the Torah’s mitzvos with an extra surge of excitement and involvement that we didn’t realize we were capable of doing. And, of course, in our new ‘self’ we can only imagine how far we can go expanding our horizons to alter our position with Hashem and establish such a connection that will propel us to a new year of serving Hashem in an extremely prominent and astounding way.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
The evil inclination is referred to as a fool. Actually, he is quite a strategist constantly tripping us and causing us to sin. However, this is exactly the point, he creates a mood of foolishness within us and that is what instigates our downfall. CHOFETZ CHAIM