Repentance is drawing close to G‑d, as is written, “Peace, peace to the distant and the close,” i.e. to one distant who draws close. One might ask: G‑d is everywhere; why must one “draw close” to Him?

When two people stand next to each other, but turn their backs on each other, they are actually supremely distant, for closeness is face to face.

This is the meaning of the scriptural statement  “For they turned towards Me their backs and not their faces.” “For they turned toward Me” refers to “turning” to G‑d by keeping the Torah, but this is only “turning the back” to Him, i.e. performing mitzvot coldly and routinely. “His mouth and his lips honored Me, but his heart was far from Me”. “And not their faces”-this “turning,” moreover, is not with inner love and desire.

Our sages, thus, established the Ten Days of Repentance as a time to correct the state of “turning the back.” It is a time to devote oneself to G‑d, Torah, and mitzvot with inner love, joy and enthusiasm. Every day one must restore one of the ten soul-powers to the mode of “the face.”

 

(Torat Shmuel 5630, p. 302)