Drash Cards for Ha’Azinu (5777)
By Marc Mangel
- When he was a youngster, the 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe asked his father “What is one to do now that Yom Kippur is over?”. His father answered “Now, one has to begin doing teshuvah”.
- That is, Yom Kippur is a beginning not an end. Teshuvah is a process (repentance – an inappropriate translation – is a single event of “I’m sorry” vs the continual “I’m changing”).
- Think about it: In Elul we had a month of looking backwards at our failures in the last year, feeling remorse.
- Between Rosh HaShannah and erev Yom Kippur we have the opportunity to formulate our teshuvah goals for the coming year – still feeling remorse about the past, but slowly letting it go.
- On Yom Kippur, we finalize our teshuvah goals, close out the remorse, and end the day with positive resolve going forward.
- But where do we find guidance and support as we go forward?
- The rest of the holidays don’t help so much – we are transitioning to a time of joy and celebration, rather than introspection, as we begin Sukkot.
- But today’s Torah portion does help. In the prologue to his song, Moses says
- (Ch 32, v 2) “May my discourse come down as the rain. My speech distill as the dew. Let showers on young growth, like droplets on the grass”
- What we have done thus far is plant the seed of our teshuvah. Now, like other seeds that need rain, our seed of Teshuvah needs nourishment – the Torah and Mitzvot – and our tending to grow and flourish. That is our job now.
- While preparing this drash, the following idea – which I will propose to the new Congress – occurred to me i) That we have a national month of introspection about our failings for the previous year. Say it begins the day after Labor Day and goes to the end of September. ii) That we have nationally about 10 days of focusing on how we will improve ourselves in the next year; say between October 1 and the day before Columbus Day iii)That we replace Columbus Day by a national day of resolution in which each of us starts to work on changing ourselves for the better
This would be a great country to live in!