Shabbos Teshuva – Parshas HaaZinu

The Torah in Breshis 37:29 – וַיִּשְׁמַ֣ע רְאוּבֵ֔ן וַיַּצִּלֵ֖הוּ מִיָּדָ֑ם וַיֹּ֕אמֶר לֹ֥א נַכֶּ֖נּוּ נָֽפֶשׁ׃  .  The Midrash says on this Pasuk:

 אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מֵעוֹלָם לֹא חָטָא אָדָם לְפָנַי וְעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה, וְאַתָּה פָּתַחְתָּ בִּתְשׁוּבָה תְּחִלָּה, חַיֶּיךָ שֶׁבֶּן בִּנְךָ עוֹמֵד וּפוֹתֵחַ בִּתְשׁוּבָה תְּחִלָּה, וְאֵיזֶה זֶה הוֹשֵׁעַ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (הושע יד, ב): שׁוּבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל עַד ה’ אֱלֹהֶיךָ.

Hashem said , “there has never been a time ever when a man sin before me and did teshuva. you were the first one to do teshuva. I swear that your son will stand and open the way to teshuva. And this was Hosea who said “return Israel unto Hashem, your Gd”. 

The question is obvious, didn’t אָדָ֗ם and קַ֥יִן who lived well before Ruvain repent.  The Sefer Kol Simcha, the Torah of the Rebi Reb Simcha of Peryshischa,  explains that the Medresh means that Ruvain did Teshuvah even though he did not sin.  Ruvain did not sin when Joseph was sold, yet he repented. Just the opposite, Ruvain wanted to save Joseph and return Joseph to their father. 

The Pilaver answers that the the Rebi, Reb Bunim means that  Ruvain was מֵחָדָשׁ (initiated) a new form of repentance.  Even if your intent is good, as long as your ultimate goal and the goodness  you wanted to result did not come to fruition, in a certain sense you failed and Teshuva is needed.   When Ruvain saw that his ultimate goal will not happen and that Joseph will not be reunited with their father, when he  saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he  tore his clothes.  As verse 37:29 says  וַיָּ֤שָׁב רְאוּבֵן֙ אֶל־הַבּ֔וֹר וְהִנֵּ֥ה אֵין־יוֹסֵ֖ף בַּבּ֑וֹר וַיִּקְרַ֖ע אֶת־בְּגָדָֽיו׃ .becuase his ultimate goal was not fulfilled and he felt that he failed, therefore Ruvain repented.

Similarly Ruvain’s descendant opened a new path in Teshuva. What was  הושע ‘s new path of Tshuva?   Teshuva is re-connecting to God.   Teshuva is not just חרטת חטאים, regretting sins as הושע said כִּ֥י כָשַׁ֖לְתָּ בַּעֲוֺנֶֽךָ׃.  The Pilaver says 

 כי הושע פּתח פּתח חדשׁ

לתשׁובה עמוקה ,ולימד לשוב בּהודיה על חלק הטוב  – שלא יופסק מאתנו לעולם להתקשר בחלק שבלב מקדושתו יתבּרך  

Translated as follows:   הושע opened up a new path for Tshuva that is profound.  Hosea taught us to reconnect with thanks to Hashem on the טוב, the goodness that is contained with each of us.  That goodness in our soul is never severed from us and we are always attached to the portion in our hearts that is directly from Hashem.  That goodness is our Godly soul.   

Therefore every year on Rosh Hashanah the Jewish people’s inner connection to Hashem is awakened through the blowing of the Shofer when we renew God’s Kingship. (There is no mention on Rosh Hashana of asking forgiveness of our sins.  This is because we want to feel a closeness to God first, and once we are tightly bound to God, we ask for forgiveness of our sins on Yom Kippur.)  

As it says in Pslams 89:16  אַשְׁרֵ֣י הָ֭עָם יוֹדְעֵ֣י תְרוּעָ֑ה יְ֝הוָ֗ה בְּֽאוֹר־פָּנֶ֥יךָ יְהַלֵּכֽוּן׃.   First we reconnect to God with the sounds of the Shofer and then we walk in the light of Your presence.   (This may  even occur before we ask forgiveness for our sins or it may mean once we reunite, God will easily forgive our sins.      הושע referenced this idea in 14:3 when he says in the below Pasuk וְקַח־ט֔וֹב –

קְח֤וּ עִמָּכֶם֙ דְּבָרִ֔ים וְשׁ֖וּבוּ אֶל־יְהוָ֑ה אִמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו כָּל־תִּשָּׂ֤א עָוֺן֙ וְקַח־ט֔וֹב וּֽנְשַׁלְּמָ֥ה פָרִ֖ים שְׂפָתֵֽינוּ׃

This attachment was worked on by our Holy forefathers that this world never be severed from the influences of “good”.  Like it is referenced in Hosea 12:13 –     וַיִּבְרַ֥ח יַעֲקֹ֖ב שְׂדֵ֣ה אֲרָ֑ם וַיַּעֲבֹ֤ד יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בְּאִשָּׁ֔ה וּבְאִשָּׁ֖ה שָׁמָֽר׃

Then Jacob had to flee to the land of Aram; There Israel served for a wife, For a wife he had to guard [sheep].

Just like Yaakov first married Rachel and then he worked seven years.  He was bound to Rachel, to her goodness  and then he was he worked for seven years.  This is the way of service to God.  

Hosea Verse 14:3 says  קְח֤וּ עִמָּכֶם֙ דְּבָרִ֔ים וְשׁ֖וּבוּ אֶל־יְהוָ֑ה אִמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו כָּל־תִּשָּׂ֤א עָוֺן֙ וְקַח־ט֔וֹב וּֽנְשַׁלְּמָ֥ה פָרִ֖ים שְׂפָתֵֽינוּ׃

 Say to Him: “Forgive all guilt And accept what is good; Instead of bulls we will pay [The offering of] our lips.

This means that this is the “good, to give thanks  to God that our inner attachment has never been broken by Hashem, because through this good we reattach ourselves to our source (God).

This is also referenced in the above Pasek when it says  כָּל־תִּשָּׂ֤א עָוֺן֙ – anyone who is has sinned take the goodness that is inside you and reconnent.    It does not say    .  כל עון תשׂא – all sins forgive, that Heshem should forgive all sins.   Similarly in Devorim Rabah 8:1 by Kayan  –   אָמַר לְפָנָיו רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם כָּל הָעוֹלָם אַתָּה סוֹבֵל וְלַעֲוֹנִי אִי אַתָּה סוֹבֵל.  It is not the sins that God has patience for but for the sinner himself who gets closer to God.  

This is because when God constricted himself in creation, it was for the enabling for God’s Holiness to have a place in this world, buried within us in    הסתר, also the השפּעה העליונה.  And therefore once we are close to God, Hashem has to bear our sins.