Shabbat Shuvah 5767

A Drash for Shabbat Shuva 5767


Today’s haftarah is a composite: Hosea 14:2-10; Micah

7:18-20 and Joel 2:15-27. The special name for this

Shabbat, “Shabbat Shuvah,” is taken from the first

phrase in the opening section from Hosea:

“Shuvah Yisrael ad Adonai Elohecha”

(Return, O Israel, unto Adonai

your God). It is usually

assigned to this Shabbat

during the 10 Days

of Return


Today’s Torah portion HaAzinu is an admonishment (first

part) and comfort (second part) in which the heavens are

called on as witness for our actions.

At the  end of the admonishment, we read Ch 32, v 35: “Mine

[God’s] is the office of avenger and retribution [Hirsch

translation]”.  If retribution belongs to God, what

belongs to us?

The answer is that Tsuvah belongs to us. But in what sense do

we own Tsuvah?


Tsuvah belongs to us in the sense that we can choose to do it

or not.


We can choose to conduct our Tefillah as a way of reaching 

towards an attachment to God with great kavanah. Or we

can choose to conduct our Tefillah in a rote and

automatic fashion or in a distracted



We can choose to give Tdzedaka as a duty to God and as

justice to those who are in need.


Or we can choose to give Tdedaka in a grudging

and obligatory fashion.


We can choose to seek to find the essence of goodness in

ourselves and in others – back to our roots in Godliness

and discovering them as our true character.


Or we can seek to interpret the behavior of

others in a mean-spirited way.


And once we have made this choice, then what?

Shabbat Shuva comes around EVERY year to remind us

hat even after we have made the choice of Teshuva,

we still need to work ourselves.


It is always possible to rise higher and there is always room

for improvement, for an even deeper and more infinite

level of teshuva, as G-d is Infinite and without



These Days of Awe, in which are now in the middle, are about

our ability to choose and our ability to change (on that,

next week).  Tsuvah is ours, but only if we choose it

–     but not once, continuously because Tsuvah

is without end.

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