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The Shabbat between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Teshuva, “Sabbath of Repentance.” The power of commitment and renewal on Shabbat Teshuva is 52 times stronger than the power of any other Shabbat of the year!

Shabbat Teshuva is the one Shabbat of the year whose theme and focus is that of repentance.

The Shabbat between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Teshuva, “Sabbath of Repentance.” It is also known as Shabbat Shuva, “Sabbath of Return.”

Shabbat Teshuva is the one Shabbat of the year whose theme and focus is that of repentance.

Love versus Fear

Talmudic sage Reish Lakish teaches that when one repents out of fear of God, then his or her intentional sins are downgraded to the level of unintentional sin. But if one repents out of love of God, all sins are transformed into merits!

What is the difference between repenting out of love and out of fear?

It is explained that a person who genuinely regrets his or her sins and repents out of fear actually develops a new perspective on life and behaves differently, realizing that there is nothing to gain by violating God’s will. One commits to being a better person. This is certainly good, but it’s still not the ideal.

True repentance brings a new attitude and commitment. (chabad.org)

True repentance brings a new attitude and commitment. (chabad.org)

However, when one repents out of love, he or she develops a new attitude and strategy in going forward. What is love? Love is about giving, connecting and growing together. When God sees that a human being loves Him and that the person not only feels remorse, but also makes a commitment to grow and reconnect to Him, God takes those sins and uses them as fuel for creating a renewed relationship by turning them into merits.

Why is this idea so appropriate for the Shabbat between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? Shabbat is the day when we withdraw from the world on a weekly basis in order to renew our relationship and commitment to God. We eat special foods, wear special clothes and spend the day differently. Shabbat Teshuva gives us the opportunity to renew our relationship and commitment not only for the past or upcoming week, but for an entire year. In other words, the power of commitment and renewal on Shabbat Teshuva is 52 times stronger than the power of any other Shabbat of the year!

What an opportunity!

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel

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