Vol 14.21 - Haazinu 1 (Shabbat Teshuvah) Spanish French Audio Video
(5733) Since Moshe was close to heaven he said said "Listen, O heavens" (Sifri " beg, of Parshah) and the connection to the advantage of Teshuvah of "Shabbat Tshuvah"
The Torah portion Haazinu begins with Moshe saying “Listen heaven and I will speak; hear earth the words of my mouth.” The Sifri notes that concerning heaven, Moshe used an expression denoting closeness, haazinu, while regarding earth he used an expression indicating distance, v’sishma, for Moshe was “close to heaven and distant from earth.”
All of Torah serves to instruct each and every Jew. Since it tells us: “Listen heaven and hear earth,” it is evident that like Moshe, we are expected to become “close to heaven and distant from earth.” How are we to reach so rarefied a level?
Haazinu is often read on the Shabbos between Rosh HaShanahand Yom Kippur, a Shabbos known as “Shabbos Teshuvah,” a “Shabbos of Repentance.”
The simple reason for this name is that this Shabbos falls within the Aseres Yimei Teshuvah, the Ten Days of Repentance. However, since every aspect of Torah is extremely precise, we understand that the name “Shabbos Teshuvah” indicates that the Shabbos day itself enhances repentance (other days during this week are not denoted as the “Sunday of Teshuvah, or the “Monday of Teshuvah.”)
It thus follows, that the name “Shabbos Teshuvah” indicates that the teshuvah of this Shabbos is superior to the teshuvah of the other Ten Days of Repentance.
What is the connection between Shabbos and a superior form of teshuvah?
The Alter Rebbe explains that the teshuvah of Aseres Yemei Teshuvah involves the soul’s essence, while teshuvah during the rest of the year involves only the soul’s inner powers. Thus, the former period of teshuvah is far superior to the latter.
These two periods for teshuvah also correspond to the two general levels of repentance, the lower level of teshuvah — known as teshuvah tataah — whose purpose is to reunite with G‑d through man’s rectification of his sins, and the higher level of teshuvah — known as teshuvah ilaah — in which the soul utterly returns and cleaves to its Source.
In a general sense, these two forms of teshuvah are mirrored in the difference between man’s spiritual service during the six days of the week and his spiritual service on Shabbos: During the week, man is involved in mundane affairs, seeking to elevate the physical world to holiness. This corresponds to the lower level of repentance, in which the service is that of reuniting the soul’s internal powers with G‑dliness.
On Shabbos, however, mundane labor is prohibited, as the sanctity of the day is such that man transcends the physical; his labor on that day involves achieving ever-higher levels within the framework of holiness.
Thus the teshuvah of Shabbos is the loftier level of teshuvah, because on that day the soul is elevated and cleaves to its Source. The superiority inherent in the teshuvah of “Shabbos Teshuvah” as compared to repentance during the other days of the Ten Days of Repentance will be understood accordingly:
The seven days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur correspond to each of the seven days of the week of the entire past year; each of the seven days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur rectifies the misdeeds committed on that day of the week in the past year— Sunday rectifies all past Sundays, Monday rectifies all past Mondays, and so on.
Therefore, although the entire period of Aseres Yemei Teshuvah involves the superior form of teshuvah, teshuvah ilaah, nevertheless, since the weekdays of the Aseres Yemei Teshuvahinvolve atonement for the weekdays of the past year, it follows that the weekday teshuvah is not the loftiest form.
Shabbos Teshuvah, however, is the teshuvah for all past Shabbosos, which themselves are inherently superior in service and teshuvah. It therefore follows that the teshuvah of Shabbos Teshuvah is the loftiest of all the Aseres Yemei Teshuvah.
It is the attainment of this level on Shabbos Teshuvah that enables each and every Jew to be like Moshe — “close to heaven and distant from earth.”
(From: Wellsprings by Sholom Wineberg, Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XIV, pp. 143-147)
1. On the verse: "Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! And let the earth hear the words of my mouth!"
The Sifri sates "Since Moshe was (spiritually) close to Heaven, he therefore said ‘Listen, O heavens’ and since he was far from earth he said ‘and let the earth hear’”.
It is understood that just as in all aspects of the Torah (From the same root as the Hebrew word hora'ah - lesson) there is a lesson for every Jew, so too in this, namely that in the words: "Moshe was close to Heaven" there is a lesson for everyone in his Avodah (service to G-d).
“Each and every soul of the house of Israel contains within it something of the quality of our teacher Moshe, peace unto him, for he is one of the "seven shepherds" (who cause vitality and G‑dliness to flow to the community of Jewish souls, for which reason they are called "shepherds.") Our teacher, Moses, peace unto him, is the sum of them all, (and he is called "the faithful shepherd.")
Therefore everyone is able to somewhat reach a "minute portion and particle" (Tanya Chap. 44) of the level of Moshe that the Torah has made known to us about them. In our case, it is "to be ‘close to heaven’". And since one is able (to reach this level) - it is understood that one is obligated to exert oneself in this matter. For man’s Avodah must be "as one who is required to work".
Yet one must understand:
How is it possible for everyone to achieve being "close to heaven"? And not only that but be obligated to achieve it?!
One must also understand:
It has been spoken about many times that the theme of each Sidra (weekly section), that we read in the Torah, is relevant to the period (time) that we read it.
From this it is understood, in our case, that the aforementioned lesson, that one should be "close to heaven" is especially relevant to the time that we read Parshat Haazinu, which in many years (as in this year) is read during the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah (Ten Days of Repentance) (Shabbat Teshuvah).
We must understand: What is the relevance of this lesson to the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah in general and to Shabbat Teshuvah specifically?
2. This can be understood by prefacing that the Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called "Shabbat Teshuvah".
For, as it is known, the name of each thing shows the essence and life-force of the thing. It is (therefore) understood that the essence of "Shabbat Teshuvah" is Teshuvah (repentance).
And even though, plainly, it is called ("Shabbat Teshuvah") since it is one of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah. Nevertheless, since all aspects of Torah are exact, from this that they established the name of the day - "Shabbat Teshuvah" it is understood that its relevance to Teshuvah is not just that it is one day of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah but that it also contains the aspect of Shabbat. For since it is the Shabbat of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah, it has a specific advantage to the concept of Teshuvah, more so than the other days of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah.
And even according to the view that the name (of the day) is "Shabbat Shuvah" (and not "Shabbat Teshuvah") " which, at first glance, is called so because of the Haftorah which begins "Shuvah Yisroel" (Return O Israel). Nevertheless, from this itself, namely that they established the Haftorah - "Shuvah Yisroel" the essence of which is Teshuvah, on this Shabbat, it is understood that this Shabbat is specifically connected to the concept of Teshuvah.
And this is also proven from what is cited in the codifiers of Jewish Law (Poskim) that "Our custom is that a minor does not recite the Haftorah ‘Shuvah Yisroel’", even though all the days of the year a minor may recite the Haftorah. For this is because the establishment of the Haftorah of "Shuvah Yisroel" on this Shabbat is not because of the connection of the Haftorah to the Parsha (the weekly Torah section) that we read in the Torah (like most of the Haftorahs). But rather it is because of its theme of the time, which is the concept of Teshuvah.
Therefore, it is understood that it is not the place for a minor (to recite it). For a minor is exempt from all Mitzvot and therefore the concept of Teshuvah is not is (completely) relevant to him - (to the extent) that he should recite the Haftorah of "Shuvah Yisroel".
Accordingly, one could say that this Shabbat is called "Shabbat Shuvah" not just because of the beginning of the Haftorah but (also and primarily) because of its subject of the Shabbat which is the aspect of Teshuvah (because of which, we read this Haftorah).
Therefore, we find that even according to this opinion, the name "Shabbat Shuvah" depicts the specific
One must understand:
What is the specific connection of this Shabbat (from the perspective of its aspect of Shabbat) to the concept of Teshuvah?
3. The explanation to all this is:
The explanation of the Alter Rebbe on the saying of the Sages (regarding the difference between the Teshuvah of the whole year versus that of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah) is well known.
The Talmud in tractate Rosh Hashanah (18a) states:
“It states: ‘the L-rd our G-d is whenever we call upon him’. But it is also written: ’Seek the L-rd while he may be found?’ — This verse speaks of an individual, that (verse) of community. (When can an individual (find G-d)? — Rabbah b. Avuha said: These are the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.)”.
The Alter Rebbe explains the statement: “this (regarding the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah) is for an individual, that (of the whole year) is for the community” as follows.
These two levels of Teshuvah:
correspond to the two levels of repentance:
The explanation of this is:
The general Avodah of Torah and Mitzvot represents the connection of man to G-dliness due to one’s inner powers.
When one, G-d forbid, transgresses one of the Mitzvot of the Torah, this creates a deficiency and blemish in the connection of his powers to G-d. And since, due to the (blemish in his) inner powers he is separated from G-d, therefore in order to return and reconnect with G-dliness, he must awaken the essence of his soul, which is above the inner powers. For sins do not create a weakness to the essential connection of his soul to G-dliness. Therefore, he is able to return and connect even his powers, to G-d.
However, since the aspect of this Teshuvah, is to correct the blemish and deficiency of the inner powers, one must say that there exists a level in the soul that has a relation to those powers. And the deficiency in them – that is caused by sins – “affects him” (תופס מקום אצלו).
This means that this Teshuvah, even though it also emanates from the essence of his soul, which is above the inner powers, nevertheless, is a level in the soul that has already been drawn down to be a level of a root and source to the powers, and not to the actual essence of the soul.
Whereas the level of Yechidah - the essence of the soul that is above being that of a root and source to the powers – is completely above the aspect of sins. Therefore, the Teshuvah that comes from that level, is not over the sins and transgressions, but rather its aspect is to uplift from one level to the higher level in the cleaving of the soul to its root and source.
And this is the virtue of the Teshuvah of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah over that of the Teshuvah of the whole year – it is a higher level of Teshuvah – Teshuvah Ila’ah, from the level of Yechidah shb’Nefesh.
4. An example of these two forms of Teshuvah can be generally compared to the two modes of Avodah on the weekdays versus that of Shabbat.
On the weekdays, the primary Avodah of a person is to refine oneself – Avodat HaBirurim – through the thirty-nine weekday labors and work, whose aspect is to refine one’s permissible deeds and to elevate them to holiness.
In the Avodah of Teshuvah, this corresponds to the lower level of Teshuvah – Teshuvah Tata’ah – which is the Avodah with one’s inner powers, that have become separated from G-dliness, to return and reattach them to holiness.
On Shabbat, however, labor is prohibited. For due to the elevation of the worlds on the Shabbat day, a person transcends the aspects of the world (and the Avodah of refinement). His labor on that day involves achieving ever-higher levels within holiness itself.
The level of Teshuvah of Shabbat is the loftier level of Teshuvah – Teshuvah Ila’ah. A day where the soul is elevated and cleaves to its root and Source.
With this, one can explain the virtue of the Avodah inherent in the Teshuvah of “Shabbat Teshuvah” as compared to the Avodah of Teshuvah during the other days of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah:
As has been spoken of many times, the seven days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur correspond to each of the seven days of the week of the entire past year. Each of the seven days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur rectifies the misdeeds committed on that day of the week in the past year— (in other words, Sunday rectifies all past Sundays, Monday rectifies all past Mondays, and so on.)
Therefore, it is understood that although, in general, the entire period of Aseret Yemei Teshuvah involves, as aforementioned, the superior form of Teshuvah - Teshuvah Ila’ah, nevertheless, since the weekdays of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah involve atonement for the weekdays of the past year, it follows that the weekday Teshuvah is not the truest and most complete form of Teshuvah Ila’ah.
Whereas on the day of Shabbat of these seven days, where the Teshuvah and rectification is for the Avodah of all the past Shabbat’s of the year, the Avodah of this day – Shabbat Teshuvah – represents the completeness of the Avodah of Teshuvah Ila’ah.
5. According to all of the above, one can explain the relation of the homily of the Sifri: "Since Moshe was (spiritually) close to Heaven etc.” - to Shabbat Teshuvah:
The two levels “earth” and “heavens” in man’s soul represent, in general, the inner powers and essence of the soul:
Therefore, the two levels of Teshuvah:
correspond to the two levels : “earth” (Teshuvah Tata’ah) and “heaven” (Teshuvah Ila’ah).
According to what was previously explained (par 3) that the Teshuvah of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah, in general, and Shabbat Teshuvah, in particular is the Avodah of Teshuvah Ila’ah, it is understood that during these days it is incumbent upon a person to be “close to heaven” – referring to having the Avodah of Teshuvah Ila’ah.
With this, it is understood how each and every person can attain the level of being “close to heaven”:
The explanation is:
The reason that the Avodah of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah is Teshuvah Ila’ah, is not because of the person’s Avodah, but rather because the power that is given from Above.
This is like the homily of the Sages on the verse: “Seek the L-rd when He is found, call Him when He is near“– this refers to the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur”. For on these days G-d is “close” – the “closeness of the luminary to the spark” (קירוב הניצוץ אל המאור). For this influences the “spark” (the soul) to be drawn (to draw itself) to its Source – the Luminary (G-d).
Therefore, even though during all the days of the year, there must be an ordered and measured Avodah. First Teshuvah Tata’ah and only afterwards attaining Teshuvah Ila’ah. However, in the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah, the wherewithal is given from Above to each and every person to enable them to attain being “close to heaven” – Teshuvah Ila’ah.
And there is a special virtue of this year’s calendar, where Shabbat Teshuvah comes immediately after Rosh Hashanah, and that the following week of days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur begins on Shabbat.
For since “all the days of the week are blessed from Shabbat” this gives a special impetus that even the Avodah of all the other days of the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah, should be in the level of Teshuvah Ila’ah of the day of Shabbat.
MSichas Shabbat Teshuvah 5722, 5727
1) Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, David.
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