Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Acceptance of Teshuva

Hashiveinu avinu lesorasechavehachazireinu bishuva sheleima lefanecha, baruch ataHarotze bishuva. Ostensibly, the chasima does not correspond to the bakasha. In the bakasha we ask that He return us to His Torah and service. But in the chasima, we thank Him for being One Who accepts repentance. We say nothing of His being One Who returns us. The situation requires explanation. I suggest this: In asking that we be made to return/repent, are we (really) asking to be given the impetus – the desire – to do so? Question: What would be the point of our “returning” because we have been made to do so? What would be the good of it? Would that be a genuine, authentic act of repentance? Ostensibly, it would be far removed from such an act. It would be coercion, plain and simple! So no. We’re not asking to be given the impetus. We know that the impetus needs to originate with us. But once we have begun, once we have developed the urge, it needs to be transmuted into something that can carry us to Him, as it were (kvych”l), so that He will receive and accept it. It is this that we ask for: that He deliver, as it were, the effusion of desire that we have initiated so that it reaches Him, so that He will accept it. It takes form through our will. And to reach the desired climax, it must ultimately be willed by Him. He must accept it. Hence: harotze bishuva. It is because He accepts teshuva that our desire to return can have efficacy.

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