web analytics
January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Until When Can We Tip The Scales?

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

This column is dedicated to the refuah sheleimah of Shlomo Eliezer ben Chaya Sarah Elka.

The Mishnah in Rosh Hashanah 16a says that on the first day of the year (Rosh Hashanah), every human being passes in front of Hashem and is judged. The Gemara there (16b) says in the name of Rabbi Kruspadai that there are three sefarim opened on Rosh Hashanah – one for tzaddikim, one for reshaim, and one for beinonim. The tzaddikim are inscribed for life, the reshaim are written for death, and the beinonim must wait until Yom Kippur to see what the judgment on them will be. If they are “zocheh,” they will be inscribed for life; if not, they will be marked for death.

Tosafos, on the Gemara, says that the judgments of life and death that the Gemara is discussing refer to life and death in Olam Haba. The Rashba disagrees with this, saying that one is only judged as it pertains to Olam Haba – after one dies, not every year.

The Gemara (17b) says that the only thing that an individual can do to be zocheh between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is teshuvah. The Gemara says that even if he brings all of the world’s korbanos, he will not be zocheh unless he performs teshuvah. The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah) agrees.

But this bothered the Rishonim. They asked why it should not suffice for one to perform any mitzvah in order to tip the scales in his favor. Why is it necessary for one to perform teshuvah over the performance of any other mitzvah? The Ritvah quotes from Tosafos that in fact one can do any mitzvos, and if the amount of mitzvos outnumbers the aveiros he will be judged favorably.

The Ritvah quotes Rabbeinu Yona’s explanation that the reason why one must do teshuvah is that Hashem commanded us to do teshuvah at this time, for as the pasuk says: “lifnei Hashem titharu.” Therefore Hashem gave us one opportunity to help our din: do teshuvah. Rav Itzela explained that not doing teshuvah during this time, when it is so accessible, is a greater sin than any mitzvah that one could do to tip the scales in his favor.

The Emek Berachah explains that indeed after Rosh Hashanah the din is sealed and one is only judged on his actions of the previous year. The reason why one can still perform teshuvah after Rosh Hashanah is because teshuvah erases aveiros retroactively. Therefore any mitzvos that one will perform after Rosh Hashanah will be on the following year’s calculation. When one does teshuvah on the aveiros performed during the previous year he can erase aveiros from the scale and thus receive a favorable judgment.

The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah 3:4) writes that the message of the shofar is to wake up those who are sleeping and get them on the right path. Each person should view himself as if he has half mitzvos and half aveiros – and therefore try to perform many more mitzvos. The Rambam concludes by saying that it is for this reason that klal Yisrael performs many ma’asim tovim and gives tzedakah during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah. It seems from the Rambam that one can tip the scales in his favor by performing any mitzvah. This contradicts what the Rambam said in the prior halacha, namely that only teshuvah can tip the scales.

However, based on the sefer Harirei Kedem’s explanation of this halacha, we can answer this question as well. He explains that the reason why the Rambam said that we should do many mitzvos is not because those new mitzvos will tip the scale in our favor; rather, it is part of the teshuvah of Rosh Hashanah. We find that the teshuvah of Rosh Hashanah differs from that of the rest of the year. Generally, when one wants to do teshuvah on an aveirah there is a four-step process that is performed: vidui (confession), charatah (regret), azivah (stopping oneself from sinning again), and kabbalah (resolution).

But we do not find that any of these processes are performed on Rosh Hashanah, nor are they part of the davening. This is because the teshuvah of Rosh Hashanah is the first step in the process; it is the process of waking up and changing direction. Thus the Rambam writes that one should perform mitzvos between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, not add to the side of the mitzvos on the scale; rather, by performing more mitzvos, we are showing that the first step in the teshuvah process has begun, and we have changed our direction.

About the Author: For questions or comments, e-mail RabbiRFuchs@gmail.com.


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 “Until When Can We Tip The Scales?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Raphael Fuchs
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).

The Brisker Rav suggests that the barad, in fact, only fell on people, animals, and vegetation.

Why is it necessary to perform an aveirah punishable by lashes in order to be deemed a legal rashah and be pasul l’eidus m’d’Oraisa?

Why was Yaakov not afraid that granting Yosef’s sons the status of shevatim would cause jealousy among his children?

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

It is clear that Tosafos maintains that only someone who lives in a house must light Chanukah candles.

But how could there have been any validity to Yosef’s allegations?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/until-when-can-we-tip-the-scales/2013/09/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: