web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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.

If over the past year I haven’t learned Torah properly, I can ask Hashem to forgive me for my lack of diligence but I still remain lacking. It’s up to me to now fill in what I have lost. If I have had words with relatives of friends, it’s not enough to ask forgiveness. That takes care of the actual sin but the repair of the relationship still has to be done. And certainly in terms of the way that we treat our spouses, while we will ask forgiveness, and can expect it to be granted, the real work is looking forward and asking ourselves, “What can I do to make my marriage better?”

Teshuvah can eliminate the sin and make it as if it never happened, but it can’t make up for the lost opportunity. That can only happen with a course correction, accomplished with careful analysis of how we spend our time and asking ourselves the critical question: am I happy with the direction of my life?

The real work on Yom Kippur involves two parts – the teshuvah process and then changing.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the 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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
An IDF patrol along the Gaza border.
Ground Op on Horizon with Emergency Orders to 10,000 IDF Reservists
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-082214-Beloved

Hashem recalls everything – nothing is hidden from His eyes.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

An interview was overheard in which an Arab asked a Hamas commander: “What’s the problem? Why aren’t you hitting your targets? Don’t you know how to aim?” To which he was answered: “We know how to aim very well. We are experts. But their G-d moves the missiles.”

Daf-Yomi-logo

Discretion
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!

A bit of (non-Jewish) history can help us understand this week’s Torah portion: In the early 1500s, the Catholic church was being fundamentally challenged by movements which claimed it had monopolized religious power and used to enrich the church and its officials. The most radical of these movements were a particular sect of Anabaptists. Anabaptists […]

“When a mother plays with her child there is an acute awareness of the child. But even when the mother works at a job or is distracted by some other activity, there is a natural, latent awareness of her child’s existence.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

The-Shmuz

While it’s clear to you and to me that a 14,000-pound creature can easily break away from the light ropes holding it, the reality is that it cannot.

One of the manifestations of the immature person is a sense of entitlement.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are often two distinct perspectives of an event: the perspective from living in the moment, and the perspective of history.

The rock doesn’t have needs, yet it listens to Hashem. How much more so should we, who have so many needs?

Clearly, they were lacking in bitachon. Their faith in Hashem was deficient. But they weren’t guilty of speaking lashon hara.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: