web analytics
September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Teshuvah Is Easy; Change Is Difficult

The-Shmuz

“And Aharon and all of Bnei Yisrael saw Moshe,
his face illuminated, and they feared approaching him.”
Shemos 34:30

With the entire nation gathered at the foot of Har Sinai, Moshe Rabbeinu went up to receive the Torah. When he came down forty days later, the Jewish people were in a very different state from when he had left them. Through the influence of the mixed multitude, they were engaged in a form of idol worship. While it’s true that the vast majority of the people didn’t actively engage in the act, for such a people so soon after hearing, “I am Hashem Your G-d,” directly from our Creator, this was so egregious that it was considered as if they had each participated. The only hope was for Moshe to beseech Hashem for mercy.

After destroying the Golden Calf, Moshe went back up Har Sinai, spent another forty days with Hashem, and Hashem forgave the Jewish people. Hashem then told Moshe to go back up a third time, now to reaccept the Torah and bring down a second set of luchos.

This time when Moshe came down his face was illuminated – literally shining from holiness. When the people saw him, they were awed and didn’t dare to look directly at him. From that point on, whenever Moshe went out in public, he wore a veil to hide his face.

Rashi comments that earlier, when Hashem Himself appeared to the entire nation, everyone was able to look at Hashem. Now even just the reflection of the Hashem’s glory on the countenance of a man was more than they could handle. From here we see the damage of sin.

This Rashi is difficult to understand. Moshe came down the final time on Yom Kippur. For generations, that day has been set aside as a day of forgiveness because Hashem forgave the sin of the Golden Calf. And even more, Moshe immediately commanded the Jewish People in the mitzvah of building the Mishkan (tabernacle). This was to be a permanent sign that Hashem forgave the Jewish nation. Clearly, the sin was forgiven, so why couldn’t the Jews look at Moshe’s face?

The answer to this can best be understood with a mashol.

Imagine a man who, after having a few too many drinks, gets into his car and begins driving. It takes a while before he is pulled over, but finally the police arrest him, and he stands trial for driving while intoxicated. Understanding the gravity of the charges, he makes a heartfelt appeal to the judge. “Your honor, what I have done is wrong, and there is no excuse. I endangered the lives of others as well as myself, and there is no defending my conduct. I cannot express my shame and regret for my actions. However, it is a first offence, and I am a family man, and community-minded. I beg the court to have mercy.”

If the man is convincing, and the circumstances support him, the judge may forgive him and waive the charges, in which case the offense is stricken from the record.

But what if when he got behind the wheel of his car, instead of being pulled over by the police he plowed into a telephone pole? By the time the paramedics get to the scene, it looks bleak. As a last measure, a helicopter flies him to the nearest hospital, but there is nothing that could be done. His spinal cord is severed, and he is paralyzed from the waist down.

In this case, if he were to stand trial for drunk driving, the judge may forgive him, and his record may be clean, but the damage is still there.

This seems to be the answer to Rashi. The Jewish nation did teshuvah and were forgiven. But the world was still changed. At that pivotal moment in time, for the Exalted Nation to engage in something akin to idol worship changed the very spiritual dimensions of the world. Yes, they were forgiven for what they did, but they weren’t the same as they were before, and neither was the rest of Creation.

Teshuvah Isn’t Enough

This concept is very applicable to us. On Yom Kippur, we are charged with the mitzvah of teshuvah. Teshuvah involves four parts: separating from the sin, regret, confession, and a plan not to repeat the offence. But there is still more work to be done. I have to repair the damage done.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of TheShmuz.com. The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at www.TheShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Teshuvah Is Easy; Change Is Difficult”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Frazier Glenn Miller regretted that his murder victims were not Jews.
White Supremacist Gives Nazi Salute After Kansas City Murder Conviction
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

The common translation of the opening words of this week’s parsha, Ki Seitzei, is: “When you go out to war against your enemy.” Actually the text reads “al oyvecha” upon your enemy. The Torah is saying that when Israel goes out to war, they will be over and above their enemy. The reason why Bnei […]

Rabbi Avi Weiss

The love between Gd & Israel is deeper than marriage; beyond the infinite love of parent for child

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Since giving the machatzis hashekel will not change his financial situation, he is obligated to do so even though it is more than a fifth of his income.

Today, few people fast during the Days of Selichot, but the custom is to rise early to recite Selichot.

Each month is associated with a particular tribe. The month of Elul is matched up with Gad. What makes Gad unique?

Sanctions and indictment of the Jew, holding him to a higher standard, is as common and misplaced as ever.

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

“There is a mitzvah to pay the worker on that day,” answered Mr. Lerner.

Be happy. Be grateful. God knows what he is doing. It is all happening for a reason.

We get so busy living our lives, handling our day-to-day little crises that we forget to go that one step deeper and appreciate our lives.

The promise for long life only comes from 2 commandments; What’s the connection between them?

Mighty Amalek deliberately attacked enemy’s weakest members, despicable even by ancient standards

If we parents fail to honor responsibilities then society’s children will pay the price for our sins

Consider how our Heavenly Father feels when He sees His children adopting all other parents but Him

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
Shmuz-logo-NEW

To allow for free will, there are times when Hashem will allow a person the “opportunity to be the messenger.”

Shmuz-logo-NEW

Everything you see – from the flower to the bee, from the oceans to the mountains, rivers, planets, the sun, the moon and the stars – all just sort of happened.

“When Hashem…will broaden your boundary as He spoke to you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ for you will have a desire to eat meat, to your heart’s entire desire you may eat meat.” – Devarim 12:20   For forty years in the midbar the Jewish people ate mon. Guided by Moshe Rabbeinu, engaged […]

The farmer understands he didn’t bring the rain. It wasn’t his acumen that stopped the pestilence.

Man has conflicting wishes and desires. Man has forces pulling him in competing directions.

On Super Bowl Sunday itself, life seems to stop. Over one hundred million people watch the game. About half of the households in the country show it in their living rooms and dens.

We are affected by our environment. Our perspective on the world is affected by what those around us do.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/teshuvah-is-easy-change-is-difficult/2013/09/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: