1. A farbrengen associated with Shabbos Shuvah1 must be related to the two distinct concepts that Shabbos Shuvah contains: the first is “Shabbos” and the second is Teshuvah.”

2. What is Shabbos? It is a day distinguished by the Torah to the extent that all labors deemed as weekday in nature are forbidden on the Shabbos. It says, “He who toils prior to Shabbos, shall eat on Shabbos.” (i.e. the activities prior to Shabbos are referred to as toil, whereas the activities of 5habbos are compared to eating).

What “toil” are we referring to? The Torah tells us “Six days may you labor and do all your work.” Man’s preoccupation during the week is related to themes of work. He exerts himself in his labor in order to build a proper home for his Creator in this world. This is the reason and ultimate goal of the entire creation, and specifically his creation, for “I was created to serve my Maker.” Every person (including a Gentile) is empowered and required to negate the possibilities of emptiness and desolation in this world, and to strive to acquire a partnership in the creation.2

Following this preparation, Shabbos comes as a culmination and reward of the previous week. In Shabbos itself, the reward one attains varies greatly. It can be comparable to, or at a level higher and incomparable to, the labor of the prior week. Generally, this reward divides itself into two categories: the first, the relaxation derived from knowing that all one’s labors are complete: the second, “You shall call Shabbos enjoyment.” Within this second category one can find assorted sub-categories; an enjoyment associated with resting from work, an enjoyment (unrelated to work) of the Shabbos day, and finally, a level of pure enjoyment that is primarily associated with the final hour of Shabbos which is an introduction to the “Melaveh Malkah3 that follows. When applied to the observance of Torah and Mitzvos, the distinction between the observance that relates to the work-week in comparison to the observance related to Shabbos is enormous, for those related to Shabbos are permeated by the enjoyment with which Shabbos is associated.

A different aspect of Shabbos is that it is the beginning rather than the end. Besides being the culmination of the prior week, it is also the beginning of the succeeding week. Therefore, it is empowered to bless and enhance the days and labors pursuant to it, moreover it contains within it those days and their labors and enhancement.

Consequently, Shabbos Shuvah contains within it all the days of the following week, including Yom Kippur, the last day of the Ten Days of Repentance, the holiest day of the year — a day more suited than any other for repentance. As the Rambam says, “Although all days are suited for repentance, none are better suited than Yom Kippur.” An obvious question arises: how and in what manner can Shabbos Shuvah enhance Yom Kippur and specifically the labor of Teshuvah on Yom Kippur?

3. To answer this question, an explanation of Teshuvah is necessary. What is Teshuvah and what does it accomplish? Primarily, it is a resolution to return one’s soul and its actions to its original place. It is a resolution to leave one’s evil ways, to confess his sins, and henceforth to do what is right in the eyes of the Creator-to perform G‑d’s commandments, which are the sole reason for man’s creation.

How and the manner by which this is accomplished falls into two categories: Teshuvah from love, and Teshuvah from fear. Our Sages tell us that through Teshuvah from love, not only is the person forgiven but the sins themselves are transformed into, and are recorded as, his personal merits. On the other hand, if the Teshuvah is not from love but one that originates from fear, those transgressions that were igt6ntional would be re-evaluated and recorded as if they were accidental.

From the above can be deduced that, where the higher form of Teshuvah (from love) is concerned, a monumental occurrence takes place, an occurrence not analogous to any other mitzvah. The effect of every other mitzvah begins when the mitzvah is performed and continues thereafter. Teshuvah not only has an effect which commences at that point in time when he resolves not to stray from the proper path, but also it (and only it) can redo the past, as if no transgression occurred, the previous sins being considered as merits. This occurs whenever Teshuvah is done, and even more so on a day that is associated with Teshuvah (e.g. a fast day) and especially on Yom Kippur, the most propitious day of the year for Teshuvah.

4. In conjunction with the aforementioned, a Jew is commanded in all matters concerning Torah and Mitzvos to constantly strive upwards. Unquestionably this also applies to Teshuvah and to Teshuvah as it is performed on Yom Kippur. A major element of Teshuvah is confession — therefore the main part of Yom Kippur’s prayers is the “Al Chet.”4 The A1 Chet is said many times throughout the day beginning with the evening prayers (even when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos).5 The prayers and repentance on Yom Kippur culminate with the “Neilah” (closing of the doors) prayer. This is the service during which. every Jew must leave his prior state and visualize his or her being in. an actual state of self-sacrifice, in perfect unity with his Creator.6

5. The Tzemach Tzedek, when asked what is Shabbos Shuvah, explained, “It is a festive type of Teshuvah.” The Shabbos prior to Yom Kippur effects that the Teshuvah of Yom Kippur should also contain the enjoyment and happiness of Shabbos. As discussed ,earlier, upon the arrival of Shabbos, one’s labors are completed and he is surrounded by an atmosphere of enjoyment — especially considering that Shabbos itself contains the concept of Teshuvah.7 In this manner, Yom Kippur and its service are enhanced, by imbuing it with this enjoyment. They are permeated so that every facet of Yom Kippur contains this level. Even during its culmination at Neilah (when confession is still said), the atmosphere of Shabbos should prevail, an atmosphere that is completely above sin, even above forgiveness for sin, a time when one’s labor is complete and when he has attained true and unmitigated enjoyment.

6. The moral to be derived has added significance in the month of Tishrei, a month which is general in nature, such that its impact affects the complete subsequent year.8 Therefore, every aspect of Tishrei has a greater significance and is a general lesson, the lesson being that every aspect of a Jew’s life (which is Torah, Mitzvos, and Teshuvah) is permeated with this enjoyment.9 Regardless how difficult a test one faces, he is able to withstand it. If he is tempted by something forbidden, he is content and happy not to do it. He is even pleased by this opportunity, knowing that his true nature is to serve his Creator. Even something in which the surrounding society is mired, if it opposes the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), he is delighted not to become influenced by it.

Furthermore, in the positive precepts he is not satisfied to do only the minimum; rather he exerts himself to perform mitzvos in a more splendid manner regardless of the labor and effort involved. Even for a mitzvah which involves a monetary cost (e.g. the Four Species that are associated with Sukkos — a week hence) he is happy to pay, and to even pay handsomely for them.

In turn, the L‑rd blesses us with true enjoyment and happiness so that we may continue to perform His commandments in a similar manner. His Blessings include true happiness that will take place with the end of our exile and the revelation of Mashiach speedily in our days.

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1. “Out of the depths I call to You, O L‑rd”.10 Man calls to G‑d, and G‑d answers. Man’s call — his service to G‑d. G‑d’s answer — the radiance of His G‑dliness in this gross, corporeal world.11

In our prayers on the Day of Judgment (Rosh Hashanah) and on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) we say “Concerning countries, (judgment) is pronounced on this day” and all the inhabitants of the world pass before You (for judgment)”. No country, no person, no being is exempt; all the universe must stand before the Divine Judge. G‑d’s response is likewise universal and unlimited, unconfined and uncircumcised by any boundaries. “Reveal the Glory of your Kingship upon us” is to the extent that “everything that has been made will know that You have made it.”

There is faith and there is knowledge; one can believe and one can know. Within knowing itself there are various levels. One may comprehend and intellectually grasp a concept, and yet in order for the concept to be carried to its logical conclusion the thinker needs something further, something deeper. He needs profound concentration and devotion to intellectual endeavor. It is to this manner of “knowing” that the concept “everything that has been made will know that You have made it” is referring. Not to just simple faith, not even intellectual comprehension, but to a firm, intense devotion of thought.

The outcome and conclusion of such a “knowing” of G‑d are the emotions of Love and Fear of G‑d,12 which are then expressed in concrete form, in thought, speech and deed. The result must be that man inhabits the land in an orderly, purposeful, and constructive fashion.13 This then engenders a reciprocal dwelling in the world of the Divine Presence, when “I will convert the peoples to a purer language, that all will call upon the name of the L‑rd, to serve him with one consent.” All will then understand that “Kingship will be the L‑rd’s.”

3. Every country wishes to receive a good verdict on the Day of Judgment, but this is not achieved without effort, without preparation. It is man’s actions that evoke a response from the Al-mighty.

There are many levels of authority in the hierarchy of a country’s administration,14 whose common function and purpose is the implementation of all projects good and righteous, worthy and beneficial (the accomplishment of which is the preparation to all spiritual matters). Naturally, such aims are more easily achieved when the country is an inherently benign one.

The first and foremost of such projects is education. “Educate a child in the proper manner” lays the foundation so that “when he is old he will not depart from it.” From the properly educated child will grow a man who is a builder of countries.15 He will create, not destroy; participate, not be passive; produce, and not negate.

Education starts with infants, and to this end, parents, and even grandparents, must be properly educated, for education is not just for children: “Who is wise? He who learns from every person.” Learning is never terminated, for until his very last day, one can always learn something from everyone. Who is indeed wise? He who is continually learning.

We must carry out a program of education regardless of any difficulties; but without any hindrances, obstacles, or restraints, its implementation will be incomparably superior. Imagine, then, the advantage of active help and assistance of the authorities, from the lowest to the highest. They must ensure that all worthy projects, and especially education; are fulfilled to the utmost. It is their task, their merit, their responsibility.

4. Nothing in the world happens by chance. The world has a faster who controls and directs it; everything that occurs is by Divine Providence.16 A person is selected for his office by Divine Providence, and accordingly it is by Divine Providence that he has the potential to affect all those in his sphere of influence. Of course, the higher a post he holds, the greater is his influence, and each one must work in his own domain: the neighborhood council official — his local neighborhood; the mayor — the city; the head of state — the entire country.

That he has been granted the capabilities to carry out his task, he may be sure; it is now up to him if he wishes to do so. If he is wise enough and discerning enough, he will realize why he was created and chosen for his particular position — not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of those whose betterment lies in his hands. Reward for his unstinting17 efforts follows. First and foremost will come success in his work; afterwards, blessings and success in his personal life.

5. The Rambam states, “Every person must consider himself and the entire world as being exactly balanced between theta merits and their misdeeds ...(and thus if) he performs one meritorious deed, he tilts himself and the entire world towards the scale of merit, and effects salvation and deliverance for himself and them.” An office-holder executes one project energetically, willingly, and without delay. Behold what he has accomplished! He tilts the neighborhood, the city, the region, the country, and indeed the entire world towards the scale of merit, “effecting salvation and deliverance for himself and them.”

He has been the means whereby the world will be settled in a civilized, purposeful fashion — “He formed the world to be inhabited (constructively).” The Al-mighty says about such a world that “it is a satisfaction to me that I spoke and Toy will was executed.” It is only precise fulfillment of G‑d’s will that varies: for Jew’s in regard to the 613 Commandments and their ramifications; for non-Jews, in regard to the Seven Noachide Laws and their ramifications.18

The true nature of the world of the world is G‑dliness. It is man’s mission to reveal the G‑dliness, and when he resolves to do so, to demonstrate that “the L‑rd is G‑d,” he then receives Divine assistance in his task. This prepares the world for the time when it will attain completion and fulfillment, for then “the L‑rd will be One and His Name One” and “Kingship will be the L‑rd’s.”