In 5639 (1878), on the first Shabbat of Chanukah, my grandfather, Rabbi Shmuel, delivered the discourse beginning with the quotation, 1Serve G‑d with joy. The basis of that discourse concerned the elucidation and interpretation of the degrees of joyous service. Among other things, Rabbi Shmuel declared that even repentance must be joyous, to say nothing of the service of repentance which must certainly be with joy.

My father, Rabbi Sholom DovBer, an exacting and precise student of his father's teachings, took note of this. He interpreted to himself the terms repentance and service of repentance. The first relates primarily to those matters that must be completely rejected, for even the faintest trace of evil is evil, to be repelled. Though repentance of this sort entails tears of anguish for possessing evil, nonetheless, Rabbi Shmuel emphasized, even such repentance must be accompanied by joy, the joy of ridding oneself of evil. My father understood the term service of repentance to mean gradual progression to ever higher spiritual stages.

His interpretation not withstanding, my father decided to ask his father, Rabbi Shmuel, for clarification of the subject. Early Tuesday morning, the fourth day of Chanukah, he entered his father room and asked him to explain the difference between the terms used. Rabbi Shmuel explained, Repentance is the practical act. Service of repentance refers to those things which engender practical actions. The quality of repentance hinges on the nature of those things which give rise to it. Both come through prayer, the vehicle of practical service.