In memory of Rosaline bas Ezra & Rochel Chana. Our brethren in the Holy land under siege! Our nation at large worldwide on notice. Every extra Mitzvah is important. Why the third day? What did Sarah see? The greatness of Teshuva over a Tzadik. The Akeid
The Gemara(Avoda Zara)says, When Hashem sends yesurin/afflictions upon a person, the yesurin take an oath that they will not leave the person until their designated day to leave arrives, at the exact minute they're supposed to leave, with the exact medication that's supposed to remove them. Rabbi Menashe Reisman quoted the Chatam Sofer who said that this only applies if the person does not make Teshuva in the interim. However, if, when the yesurin come, the person cries out to Hashem and accepts to become better, the yesurin will leave earlier. And even though the Gemara says the yesurin take an oath that they can't leave early, that oath is on condition that the person does not change. Which means, even though, for a person's own good, he has to go through certain afflictions sometimes, it is always in the person's hands to end those afflictions earlier. Our greatest tools are always Tefila, Teshuva and Maasim Tovim . In general, afflictions serve to bring about kapara , but we can achieve kapara in other ways, namely teshuva . In the days of the Chatam Sofer, there was a war going on, and he said then that a person must know that in Shamayim there is an exact time that this war was to begin, and there's an exact time that the war is supposed to end. And so too, today, without a question, Hashem has an exact date when this war will end. However, we can make it happen earlier with our teshuva and good deeds. Every improvement we make goes a very long way. Every Tefila goes a very long way. The Mesilat Yesharim writes in Perek יט , that if a person thinks to himself, Who am I to pray for the Geula? Will my prayers really bring about the kibbutz galuyot and the Mashiach? The answer is, Of course they will. It is to combat this claim that Chazal tell us, Hashem created man alone to teach us that everyone should say, “The world was created on my behalf, ..Hashem will change the entire world just because of me .” Every single Jew has this awesome power, and now, more than ever, we need to take advantage of it and have more focus. When we're praying, we need to have more kavana in the beracha of Bonei Yerushalayim . We need to have more kavana in the beracha of Et Semach David . We need to have more kavana in the beracha of Teka B'Shofar, and Hasheva Shofetenu. When we say the words Umalchut Harish'ah Mehera … we can have in mind that Hashem should get rid of these horrible terrorists. When we say Rachem in the Birkat Hamazon , if we focus more, we can bring about the greatest yeshuot . We're asking Hashem to have mercy Al Yisrael Amach, v'al Yerushalayim Irach …. So much is riding on our tefilot and good deeds. If everyone will improve in their deeds and in their tefilot , the Geula will arrive. B'Ezrat Hashem, we should see it soon. Amen.
“When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty; then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall make restitution for this trespass in full.” So reads chapter 5 from the book of Numbers. Repentance is on the Jewish mind these days. The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called the Ten Days of Teshuva—the Ten Days of Repentance—and during it observant Jews engage in prayer and penitence. What is repentance? How does it operate? What's actually happening in the mind of the penitent? Daniel Rynhold is dean of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and professor of Jewish philosophy at Yeshiva University. He has thought and written much about repentance and sees it as a way to illustrate some of the most interesting contrasts between medieval and modern philosophers. Joining Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver here to discuss the subject, he focuses on three major thinkers, two from within the Jewish tradition and one outside of it. The first is Rabbeinu Yonah, the 13th-century author of the rabbinic work The Gates of Repentance. The second is Joseph B. Soloveitchik, known as the Rav, who was perhaps the central intellectual figure of post-war Modern Orthodoxy. The third is the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, a famous critic of the Enlightenment, of liberalism, and of modernity. The last two are the focus of his book, written with Michael Harris, Nietzsche, Soloveitchik, and Contemporary Jewish Philosophy, published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.