Friday, September 17, 2010

EREV YOM KIPPUR - Hashem Forgives!

The Midrash recounts the following dialogue regarding the significance of sin:

Wisdom was asked: What is the fate of the transgressor? Wisdom replied: “Evil pursues crime” (Proverbs 13:21).

Prophecy was asked: What is the fate of the transgressor? Prophecy replied: “The soul that sins, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20).

The Torah was asked: What is the fate of the transgressor? Torah replied: "He shall bring a guilt-offering, and it shall atone for him" (Leviticus, ch. 5).

G-d was asked: What is the fate of the transgressor? G-d replied: "He shall do teshuvah, and it shall atone for him."

G-d sees sin as the potential for Teshuva!

From G-d’s perspective, there is only the positive essence of transgression. As viewed by its Creator, transgression is the potential for a deeper bond between Himself and man—a bond borne out of the transformation of evil into good and failure into achievement.

And this year G- d will once again forgive us. Why? Why should He?

If a person offends another and apologizes, and then repeats the misdeed, it becomes more difficult to grant pardon once again--and certainly if it occurs a third and fourth time.

To G-d, however, there is no difference between once and a thousand times. As it's stated in the Tanya, G-d's attribute of pardon comes from His mercy, which is infinite. And relative to infinity there is no difference whatsoever between a small number and a large one. Therefore G-d removes our sins every year on Yom Kippur.

These are words to soothe our aching hearts as we bare our souls in prayer and repentance this Yom Kippur.

Let us focus entirely on our spiritual connection to G‑d and how we can connect deeper and thereby live a more holy life.

Wishing you an easy fast and may we all be sealed in the Books of Life, Prosperity, and Redemption!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

10 Yemei Teshuva

The Baal Shem Tov would go to a special place on Rosh Hashana, he would light a fire in a special way, say a special prayer, and as a result the entire world would be blessed.
In the next generation, his successors knew the location of the special place and they knew how to light the fire but they forgot the prayers. So instead, they would pray, "Whatever the Baal Shem Tov achieved here with the fire, we should achieve."

The next generation knew the location but they forgot the rest. So they just stood in the location and said, "Whatever the Baal Shem Tov achieved here, we should achieve."
Today, we have forgotten even the location. So what do we do? We tell the story...

We are asked to do only that which we are capable of. We do not have to be like the giants of the past. We just have to do what is in our power—stand on their shoulders. When we do so we lay claim to everything they achieved plus we add our own small part—and that small part,, might just be enough to tip the scales and bring redemption.
Ask yourself: Do you know what your small part in this world is? What can you add to the cumulative accomplishments of the giants of the past?

We find ourselves now in the 'ten days of Teshuva' when we have the opportunity through our service, to cause G-d to grant us yet greater benefits from His “full and expansive hand".

We say in our prayers, “Teshuva - , Tefillah - ,and Tzedaka avert evil and bring the good.
Teshuvah is a return to the self. meaning going back to one’s roots in G-d making it the dominant influ­ence in our lives.

Tefillah- prayer - means, to attach oneself. In tefillah we seek to attach ourselves to G-d. to the source of all life.

Tzedakah means justice. We have a duty to act towards others as we ask G-d to act towards us. And as we ask G-d for His blessings though He owes us nothing , so we are bound in justice to give to those who ask us, even though we owe them nothing.

These three

Teshuva - Returning to one's innermost self.

Tefilla - attaching oneself to G-d.

Tzedaka - distributing one's possessions with justice -

leads to a year “written and sealed” for good. A year of sweetness and plenty.