By: Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui
King Solomon teaches, there is a season for everything. The season for each matter is the greatest and most opportune moment for that particular matter.
These days, when G-ds infinite mercy is more radiant than other days of the year, it is the best time to perform the Mitzvah of Teshuvah. Both words, Mitzvah and Teshuvah are inaccurately translated into English.
Generally we understand Mitzvah as a commandment, an order and burden G-d places upon us. That is really not the case. G-d is Creator and King of the Universe. He does whatever he desires, and because G-d is infinite, he has everything and needs nothing from anyone. When G-d asks us to do something for Him, it’s not for His sake, it’s purely and totally for our own benefit. We are lucky and fortunate that He has noticed us puny little things and affords us with the opportunity to be important in His eyes through this Mitzvah (commandment) and, earn a reward.
A mitzvah therefore is always for our own good, both physical and spiritual.
Teshuvah is generally understood as repentance from sin. The more accurate understanding of the word is to return and, to re-establish.
Our souls enter our bodies pure and pristine. The soul at birth is bright, full of warmth, and totally connected in faith with G-d. As we grow older and become independent in our thinking, our complete unadulterated attachment to G-d becomes compromised at least on the surface.
The Mitzvah of Teshuvah therefore is the opportunity G-d gives each single one of us to reestablish once again this very powerful and intense bond, notwithstanding any of the choices we made in the past that compromised and challenged our soul’s connection with G-d. Choices that covered over and suffocated the flame inside, choices that hurt the vessel that holds the oil, are all given a chance to be mended during this season.
My teacher and mentor, Rabbi Mendel Futerfas learned a great lesson from a spider and his web. As long as the fly doesn’t give up and keeps on flapping its wings, the spider (which in classic Judaism is compared to the evil inclination within), will not go after the fly.
The Bible tells us no one is perfect. Everyone has an area in which they can improve. The most important thing is that a person must never give up flapping his wings, to free himself of the schemes of the evil inclination. As long as a person never gives up, he is assured by G-d that he will not lose his battle with the spider and more so, in the end good will always prevail.
The essence of this act Teshuvah – that gives us the most blessings of strength and re-establishes our bond with the eternal G-d comes from the words of the prophet, “return to G-D Israel your G-D.” In Hebrew, the two times G-d’s name is mentioned refers to two separate dimensions and aspects of G-d. #1. There is G-d who created a natural world where laws of nature, probabilities and statistics rule. Predictable patterns conceal the awareness of G-d, the energy and root cause inside and behind everything.
Then there is G-d in his full glory who is never limited or constricted by anything and in His full glory is in every nook and cranny of existence. He hides beneath the surface and at the same time is all pervasive, to do whatever He desires in an unnoticed fashion and sometimes, peaks out in the form of unexpected occurrences and miracles which are very much noticed.
Teshuvah, is recognizing that G-d is everywhere all the time, in the natural and in the miracle equally the same. With this acknowledgment of, “I place G-d before me all the time,” it becomes much easier to take control of our temptations. Our faith that, “G-d is with me and I shall not fear,” becomes once again as it was when we were a little child, our reality.
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