Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rosh HaShana 5632 Fifth Ma'amar

The ten days beginning on Rosh HaShana and culminating with Yom Kippur are called the ten days of repentance.  Of course, we can repent at any time.  However, these days are more conducive to repentance than any other period of the year.  Why is this? 

Chazal[1], addressing this question, teach us that these days are associated with the ten commands with which God created the world and with the ten commandments that we received at Mount Sinai. 

The Sfas Emes explains that both the ten commands of the Creation and the ten commandments have spiritual power.  It is this spiritual power that actually created the world initially and kept the world in existence at Mount Sinai.  And it is this spiritual power that enlightens the ten days of repentance, one command and one commandment for each day.

Why, though, is spiritual enlightenment needed on these days in order to save us and the world, to see us through this period of judgment?  Why is the spiritual enlightenment that created the world and keeps it in existence not enough?  Chazal teach us that the world is actually deserving of destruction were it not for the renewal.  Why is there a need for renewal?

The Sfas Emes explains that the enlightenment that comes from the renewal of the world on Rosh HaShana is actually stronger than the original enlightenment at the time of the Creation and Mount Sinai.  This is in line with the famous principle of Chazal[2] that even the completely righteous cannot stand where ba'alei teshuva stand.  In a certain sense, ba'alei teshuva are on a higher level than those who have never sinned.

It takes more spiritual power to move oneself away from sin and return to God than it takes to maintain a pre-existing relationship.  The spiritual power needed for renewal on Rosh HaShana is actually more powerful than that of the original Creation.  It is this spiritual power that floods the world during this ten day period that makes it so conducive to repentance.  Let us take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to return to God and experience a personal renewal as well.  Amen!

[1] Pesikta Rabasi 40
[2] Brachos 34b

No comments: