In upcoming blogs, we will learn more about the t’shuva of the Jewish People. The true nature of Israel’s soul is kedusha, or holiness. Our Sages tell us that Israel and Torah are one, sharing the same Divine source (Zohar, Vayikra 73A-B). While this holiness exists at the core of every Jewish soul, as its inheritance from our holy forefathers, it is the task of every Jew to make holiness the guiding force of his life. If a Jew ignores this aspect of his being, he simply will not feel it. He won’t even know it exists. If he does not develop this most intrinsic part of himself, he will come to identify with the norms of the culture around him. This is like the story of the boy who was raised by wolves in a forest — he thought that he too was a wolf. But this, Rabbi Kook assures us, is just a passing phase of our history which will one day lead us back to our roots.
“The abandonment and rebellion against the commandments of God is a terrible moral regression, which only seizes a man through his frightening immersion in the vulgarity of material life. It is possible that for a time, a generation, or a part of it, in one place or another, will become entangled in the thicket of moral blindness, to the point that it won’t sense at all the ethical descent inherent in the abandonment of the laws of God. But the Divine law does not lose its value because of this. T’shuva is determined to come and to be revealed. For the sickness of forgetting the Divine world cannot hold a permanent place in man’s nature. Like a polluted spring, it returns to its purity” (Orot HaT’shuva, 6:4).
Since t’shuva is inevitable, it behooves us to get on the proverbial boat. After all, who wants to lose out on a good thing? Once we know that t’shuva is the real goal in life, why waste time on pursuing illusory things like money, power, and fame? The reason is because they don’t seem so illusory. Today, the world is dominated by materialism. In truth, the great leaps forward in technology and science are all leading life toward greater capabilities, but all too often, people get caught up in the race to achieve, to succeed, to consume, to enjoy, and thus they lose sight of loftier, more spiritual goals. In a competitive, capitalistic culture, people tend to live for “me” and not for “us.” Things like morality in big business, and in our private lives, can easily be overlooked. While all over the globe, one can find seekers ardently trying to “return to their roots,” the t’shuva movement still does not attract as many people as Disneyland. But this, Rabbi Kook, insists is destined to change.
“The future will reveal the miracle of the power of t’shuva, and this revelation will capture the whole world with an incredible fervor, far greater than all of the wonders which the world is accustomed to see in all of the realms of life and existence. And this new revelation will captivate every heart with its wonder, and its spirit will influence all people. Then the world will rise to its true rebirth. Sin will cease, the spirit of impurity will be consumed as if burned, and evil will vanish like smoke” (Ibid, 5:7).
One day the world is going to get “turned on” to t’shuva. Come Saturday night, everyone is going to head for the yeshiva. T’shuva fever is going to be the final world craze. Everyone will want to do it. No other fad will come after it. Nothing will ever take its place.