Shabbos Shuvah

Yeshayah exhorts (verse 55:6), “Seek Hashem when He is to be found – call out to Him when He is near.” Our Sages interpret these words as referring to the Ten Days of Repentance (Rosh Hashanah 18a). Yeshayah continues (verse 55:7): “Let the wicked man abandon his path, and the crooked man his thoughts, and let him return to Him, and He will show him compassion.” The Maggid discusses this passage in Sefer HaMiddos, Shaar HaYirah, chapter 11 and Shaar HaAhavah, chapter 11. He interprets the second verse homiletically as follows: “Let the wicked man abandon his path, and the crooked man his thoughts, and he will return to Him and love Him” (reading vi’rachameihu as describing a person loving Hashem, as in Tehillim 18:2 – “I will love you, Hashem, my strength”). Through this interpretation, the Maggid offers a novel perspective on how the passage describes the process of attaining a feeling of love for Hashem.
How, the Maggid asks, can a person attain the lofty trait of love for Hashem, achieve a complete return to Him, and make himself cling to Him? From our vantage point, with our limited human intellect, the goal seems impossible to reach. But Yeshayah’s message teaches us otherwise; through this message, Hashem sheds light for us on the matter. The key is to recognize that the human soul is pure, and its innate nature is to love its Creator and cling to him, just as all things tend to gravitate toward their source. The only reason we lack a feeling of love for Hashem is because our worldly drives muddle our souls and cast darkness upon them. If we would only cast away our negative tendencies and restore our souls to their original pure state, our souls would naturally return to Hashem and cling to Him with complete love.
The Maggid brings out the point with an analogy. Suppose a person catches a bird and secures it with a tether, and later decides to return it to its natural habitat. He need not carry the bird back to the place he caught it. Rather, all he needs to do is to untie the tether, and the bird will naturally fly back home.
Similarly, if we wish to return to Hashem, we do not need any special medium to carry us to Him. All we need to do is sever the bonds of our baser worldly drives. “Let the wicked man abandon his path, and the crooked man his thoughts,” Yeshayah says. And then, as an automatic result, “he will return to Him and love Him.”
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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