Sunday, October 5, 2008
Burning Pre-Shabbos Shuva Question & Answer on R' Leshem's Drasha
I wanted to post this reader's question and R' Leshem's Answer in response to R' Leshem's Drasha that I posted on Thursday, before Shabbos Shuva. I received this question (copied below) Friday morning, but by then it was too late for Rav Leshem to receive the question before Shabbos in Eretz Yisroel. So here is the question and Rav Leshem's answer below!
Dear Dixie Yid,
[Regarding Rabbi Tzvi Leshem's Drasha before Shabbos Shuva that I posted on Thursday] He wrote, "...We must aspire to reach perfect Teshuvah out of love for Hashem on this holy Day. This will ensure that each of us, together with everyone in our community and all of Am Yisrael will be sealed in the Book of Life for the coming year." Is it possible to make make perfect Teshuva, which might(should) involve sincere regret/remorse, and tears... on Shabbos? I don't doubt R' Leshems post for a second, but if there's time left to find out, I would love to know what kind of deep Teshuva we can make, and what it would look like on Shabbos, a day when we aren't allowed to openly grieve even (G-d forbid) the loss of a loved one (assuming one can hold in that place).
I realize that it's 2:30 AM by you, and that this might have come too late, but if you have any insight, I'd love to hear it. I can't claim to have performed the most perfect of avodah this past Rosh Hashana, and I've been praying for help that I can use the 10 days like I've never used them before. Rav Lazer Brody posted a "coincidentally" themed piece on Lazer Beams yesterday, and now I've found your post. I'll take these as roadsigns from the Abishter, but He's leaving the investigation to me. any light or help you can shed would be huge.
Best and blessings to you and yours for a sweet , holy, and lichtigeh Shabbos Shuva!
Rabbi Leshem's Response
Regarding the Teshuva of Shabbos Shuva,
Obviously my phrase "perfect Teshuva" is more of an aspiration and a prayer than (perhaps) a reality. But it is something to strive for. What does teshuva look like on Shabbos when we can't mourn? Why should teshuva be compared to mourning, chalila? It is true that the Alter Rebbe in Iggeret HaTeshuva talks about arousing compassion for your soul, but I don't think that is mourning. The Meor Einayim writes that Teshuva is a mitzvah and must therefore be done in joy. I would think that Teshuva on Shabbat would be Teshuva Ilaa of getting close to HaShem, not the Teshuva of fixing specific sins. If we identify this with Teshuva m'Ahava, Rav Kook writes in Orot HaTeshuva that the remembrance of sins by a person doing Teshuva m'Ahava, should fill him with great joy, as he realizes that all of these sins are transformed into merits. In Keter Shem Tov it quotes the Besht haKadosh that Rosh HaShana (Yom HaDin!) is a happy day, which is why we bentch Shehechiyanu. He continues that the Ari's instructions to cry on Rosh HaShana refer to tears of joy.... I suggest that you also see the Netivot Shalom on Shabbat Shuva Shoresh HaTeshuva in vol. 2 (Moadim).
I hope that these are helpful hints. B'bracha that HaShem should bring us all closer to joyous perfect higher Teshuva m'Ahava, gmar chatima tova,
Rav Zvi Leshem
(Picture courtesy of Rabbi Lazer Brody)
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