web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 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 »

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
Rabbi Shai Piron (L) and Yair Lapid, Yesh Atid party chairman. (archive)
Education Minister: Hamas Terror Won’t Prevent Israel’s Children from Learning
Latest Judaism Stories
Business-Halacha-logo

“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.”

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

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

Rabbi Sacks

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

Rabbi Avi Weiss

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.

“Guess what?” Benzion exclaimed when he returned home. “I just won an identical Mishnah Berurah in the avos u’banim raffle.”

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.

An Outcast
‘He Shall Dwell Outside His Tent’
(Moed Katan 7b)

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

Menachem
Via Email

Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate.

“But they told me to come in today,” she said. They gave me this date months ago. It’s not my fault if it’s the wrong day.”

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

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

Tosafos there takes issue with Rashi’s view that the letters that are formed in the knots of the tefillin are considered part of the name of Hashem.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The Rambam says that in order to honor Shabbos, one must wash his hands, face, and feet with warm water on Friday.

The talmid is not allowed to speak up due to any fear. If he remains silent, he is in violation of this prohibition.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

We need to understand why Moshe Rabbeinu decided to ask that his sons inherit his position after this new halacha was introduced.

If it is not prohibited when there is a purpose for inflicting the tza’ar, why was Bilam chastised for tza’ar ba’alei chaim?

How can we be certain that any animal can be counted toward ma’asar beheimah when perhaps it is a treifah?

    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/until-when-can-we-tip-the-scales/2013/09/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: