Shabbat Shuvah 5773–Parshat Vayelech–Shabbat Torah Study–Rabbi Aaron Bergman–Returning by Going Forward

This will be Shabbat Shuvah. It is the Shabbat during the Aseret Yamei Teshuvah, falling in the 10 days from the beginning of Rosh Hashanah to the end of Yom Kippur. We call it Shabbat Shuvah because we are (or should be)  focused on Teshuvah during this period AND because it is the very first word of this Shabbat’s Haftorah in which we are told, “Shuvah Yisrael”—Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God.”  Hosea 14:2. This is not a coincidence. Our Sages chose a Haftorah reading to emphasize the theme of the season. The question that concerns me is how does someone “return” if they  don’t feel they were ever there in the first place? So many of us feel lost. We may know where we are physically, but we may not know where we stand spiritually. Some find this too hard a question to ponder and therefore don’t.  A very dear friend of mine says that we are all in a process of becoming. I like that. There is no judgment, criticism or hypocrisy. No matter where you are, you can move forward. You may not know how to get back, but you can envision where you would like to be and head in that direction. We do not need to think of Shuvah as returning (“going back”), but as going forward with our lives and being conscious about going in the right direction. 

 This Shabbat Shuvah, our Torah Study is led by Rabbi Aaron Bergman. You are invited to move forward with us. 10:00 a.m. in the Shiffman Chapel. If you ever have a question of where to return, Adat Shalom has always been home and the right direction. Come home. Come as you are. Stay as long as you like.

 May this year of 5773 be one of moving forward in the right direction for all of us. I love the Yiddish expression that it be a “Gut gebenscht yohr” – a blessed year. I pray that it be so for you and all of us and may we be able to see the blessing in everything.

 Shabbat shalom and g’mar chatimah tovah!

 Paul

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