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Shabbat Parashat Haazinu| 5765
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Shabbat and Teshuva - Adapted from Derashot Layamim Hanoraim, pg. 72
It is not possible for the period of the Days of Repentance to pass without a Shabbat in its midst. There is a clear connection between Shabbat and teshuva. Adam met Cain and asked him what Hashem did regarding his sin. Cain responded that he repented and "reached a compromise." Adam was so impressed with the power of teshuva that he said, "Mizmor shir l'yom hashabbat" (Bereishit Rabba 22:13).
"Hashem ori v'yishi" (Tehillim 27: 1) refers to the light of Rosh Hashana and the salvation of Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashana, the day of creation, had significance from the time of creation, whereas Yom Kippur became significant only when Moshe descended Har Sinai after receiving atonement for the sin of the Golden Calf. Indeed the Divine Light was ever-present, whereas the need to be saved from sin developed only later.
The Original Sin removed the Divine Light in favor of the knowledge of good and evil, in such a way that one uses his capacity for reason to justify even that which is wrong. Not only did Adam succumb momentarily to his desires, but he also justified his actions with the claim that he had no ability to overcome his inclinations (see Bereishit Rabba 19). Chazal (Sanhedrin 38b) also hint at this idea when they said that Adam pulled on his foreskin to try to undo his mila. The brit mila represents the idea that man is capable of acting to curb even his most basic urges. Adam denied that possibility.
When Adam finally recognized his mistake, he declared, “How great are Your creations, Your thoughts are so deep” (Tehillim 92:6). The depth of the world is in its creation in a less than perfect form, allowing man to work on improving it in this world, with the final completion coming in the world to come. Shabbat, which contains elements of the world to come, also is a time when man can improve the world, as Adam learned is possible after Cain told him about his repentance.
The sin of the Golden Calf was also an “ideological” one. Bnei Yisrael claimed that it was impossible for them to serve Hashem without some concrete intermediary. When Moshe confronted them the first thing he did was to break the Tablets. This conferred the message that it is not possible to accept Hashem without accepting the rules he set down for their behavior.
In order for man to repent, he must first be able to accept his shortcomings and stop justifying them. So first man needs to be exposed to the Divine Light, as happens on Rosh Hashana. He needs to understand that all of his sins are not by chance but stem from his distancing himself from Hashem. Only afterwards can he benefit from the salvation of Yom Kippur. The prayers of the Yamim Noraim arenot intended to make a person raise up his hands in despair, but to expose him to the light of the truth. He must also contemplate the lesson of Shabbat. Shabbat, on the one hand, stems from the natural world but, on the other hand, teaches us what exists in the world and what can be done to improve it.
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