Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

During the year we recite מלך אוהב צדקה ומשפט, while in Aseret Y’mei Teshuva המלך המשפט is said. They are similar, as both emphasize “Mishpat”, justice. Even if one forgets to change, and recites the usual Bracha during Aseret Y’mei Teshuva he fulfills his requirement. If so, what is the fundamental difference between them?

During the year “Mishpat” is tempered by “Tzedaka”. The saintly Rav Kook explains that during the year, Hashem may treat us leniently, as he knows that Yetzer Hara is strong, and it is difficult to repent. During the Aseret Ymai Teshuva, the gates of Teshuva are open. These are the days when He makes himself available and close .(קראוהו בהיותו קרוב) We feel this closeness.


Ironically, since during this period our thinking is unclouded and undistracted, if we ignore God’s invitation and behest to repent, we will be judged with Mishpat alone, without the usual clemency. The good news is that we have a wonderful Shabbat Shuva coming up to put us into the proper framework for the Avoda of Yom Kippur.

Let’s not squander the opportunity.

Shabbat Shalom

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Rav Korn is a senior Rabbi at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh