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לימוד תורה

The single and plural Teshuva

Parsha and its Implementation - Vayelech - Shabbat Teshuva and Yom Kippur - Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald - 5780

Shabbat Vayelech is also "Shabbat Teshuva" and preparation for Yom Kippur. In our Parasha, the Torah commands the status of the “Hakhel” -Assemble. And we seek to examine the relationship between this and the Sabbath, the repentance, and the Day of Atonement and its implications for today.

In the "Hakhel”, all the people gathered in the Temple and the king read to them from the book Mishnah Torah. Rambam explains that the objective of this assembly is to strengthen our commitment to the Torah, the commandments and repentance. Repentance not only for sins but of greater significance - of improvement and transcendence, as we learned from Rabbi Kook's teachings, that repentance "is a constant element of the whole reality, of the whole world and of life, pushing them towards their perfection" (Rabbi Shimon Sterlich). Is the connection of the soul in every person from Israel.

The assembly took place at the end of the Shmita year at the end of the Sukkot holiday:

מִקֵּ֣ץ שֶׁ֣בַע שָׁנִ֗ים בְּמֹעֵ֛ד שְׁנַ֥ת הַשְּׁמִטָּ֖ה בְּחַ֥ג הַסֻּכּֽוֹת׃

"Every seventh year, the year set for remission, at the Feast of Booths" (Devarim 31:10)

“The word מקץ means “at the end.” Wherever we encounter the expression מקץ it means “at the end” (Rabbeinu Bahya ibid)

We might think that "miketz" is at the end of the Shmita year, Rosh Hashana, and so the Torah emphasized that it is precisely the time of Sukkot: "And the time of the assembly is on Sukkot for the sake of repenting out of joy" (Ateret Yeshua Parshat Vayelech).

מקץ- Miketz is not only the end of the Shmita year, but also the "peak" of it. The Shmita is the "Shabbat of the Land" - a rest designed to draw the attention and time usually spent on earthwork, livelihood, careerism, and the building of the material world, and direct them to Torah study and spiritual strengthening. After a full year comes the "end" - the "climax" of spiritual empowerment in the Temple's Hakhel-assembly: "It seems that thru the Mitzvah of Shmita, they were later awarded, etc. And it seems that it was a reward for keeping a seventh, etc., which made them worthy of hearing Dvar Hashem after at the assemble” (Sfat Emet Vayelech)

On Shabbat, there is a dimension of individual repentance. "Shabbat" comes from the "root" "Shab" -return (according to the two-letter root system) - which is also the "root" of "Tshuvah."

The Sabbath song, too:

מִזְמ֥וֹר שִׁ֗יר לְי֣וֹם הַשַּׁבָּֽת׃ ט֗וֹב לְהֹד֥וֹת לַה

“A psalm. A song; for the sabbath day. It is good to praise Hashem” (Psalm 92)

The repentance hymn written by Adam when he was surprised to learn that Cain repented and was atoned (Midrash Bereshit Rabbah 22:13). On the Sabbath, the man ‘returns’ to himself, to his own way, and to his soul: "The individual shakes off the every-day life for short episodes - every Shabbat. "Shabbat arrives, so does the resting". The soul begins to break free from its hard shackles, etc., and then asks to have superior paths, spiritual objects, such as nature-covered, etc. Holy Day, etc". (Rabbi Kook, Z’’l. Introduction to Shabbat of the Land).

There is also a dimension of repentance in Shmita. Of the collective togetherness: "The same action that the Sabbath does for each individual, the Shmita does for the entire nation. This nation has a special need, where the divine creation is conspicuously and eternally planted, and from time to time its divine light will shine in it in all its glory" (ibid). The collective 'tshuva' reaches its peak during the ‘Hakhel’, it is similar to our position at Mount Sinai. A status headed by the king who is the collective unifier. The Torah reading strengthens awareness of the collective spiritual purpose of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel.

There is a double dimension of Teshuva in ‘Shabbos Teshuva’. It is a preparation for Yom Kippur's repentance - the summit of the year's repentance. In it, the individual connects to his angelic soul in which he is referred to as "Shabbat Shabbaton": “a Sabbath of Sabbath Some say that this phrase means, “a Sabbath for the spirit, and a Sabbath for the body”. Others interpret in the sense of “the Sabbath of all Sabbaths” — i.e., the loftiest of all Sabbaths. It is also plausible that the two words are synonyms, and that they often appear one after another (Ibn Ezra on Vayikra 16:31)

We went through an election period with a collective discourse of polarization, even in the religious public. Some also expressed reservations about the connection between Jewish identity and state institutions, and those who viewed Judaism as a disruptive factor in the Country's management, development and prosperity. On Yom Kippur all Am Israel will gather in the synagogues, even those who do not attend the synagogues on a daily basis. This will be an opportunity for the 'single and plural Teshuva' for strengthening the shared Jewish identity and unifying around it.

אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ הַחֲזִירֵנוּ בִּתְשׁוּבָה שְׁלֵמָה לְפָנֶיךָ

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