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Devar Torah - Ki Teitzei

Friday, 13 September, 2019 - 9:05 am

Hashem, please be to us as a good Brother who will Never let us Wander in the Dark

By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

During the month of Elul we have the custom of blowing the shofar each weekday to arouse us from our slumber and to do teshuva, to return to Hashem.

When we approach the month of Elul and begin the process of teshuva we ask Hashem for four things. We ask Hashem to awaken us to do teshuva. Elul is a time when the King is in the field and Hashem is available to all to become aroused and to do teshuva. Then we ask that when we do teshuva Hashem should forgive us. We also ask that our forgiveness should come without pain or suffering. Finally, we ask Hashem to give us all we need both physically and spiritually.

In the prayer of Krias Shema before retiring at night as well as after each tefilla on Yom Kippur we ask that Hashem’s forgiveness should be without pain or suffering. At first glance it seems self understood that forgiveness should be without pain.  Hashem is all kind and all-merciful. Why would it be painful unless we specifically asked it not to be?

In an edited maamar (Achrei-Kodoshim 13th of Iyar  5721-1961) the Rebbe analyzes a verse in Shir HaShirim (8:1) “מִ֤י יִתֶּנְךָ֙ כְּאָ֣ח לִ֔י If only (Hashem) could be as with a brother”. Why is this verse bringing an example of a brother when we seek comfort from Hashem? Rashi explains as follows.  “That you would come to comfort me in the manner that Yosef did to his brothers,Alternatively, if only my desire that my relationship with Hashem, i.e., to be near Him and to pursue His holiness were out of love, as one’s relationship is with his brother who did evil to him, and it is stated concerning him, “and he comforted them.”

When we account for the past year and seek forgiveness for whatever we have done wrong,  we ask Hashem to comfort us like Yosef comforted his brothers. We ask with a caveat however, that it should be without pain or suffering. 

We see this in the maamar that the Rebbe asks that Yosef, only in the beginning of the story, brought some pain upon his brothers. How can we ask that Hashem to treat us similar to Yosef? The Rebbe explains that Yosef initially brought pain upon them in order to make them aware of their mistake to arouse them to do teshuva. It worked! Yosef also  saw the terrible harm that could befall them later as a consequence of their sin and went about bringing a small amount of suffering to wash away their sin. From the point of their teshuva onward, the suffering immediately ended and Yosef comforted them and took care of them in a time of hunger and famine for the rest of their lives.

Similar to the brother’s of Yosef whenever we sin it makes a blemish on our neshama which needs to be cleansed. Therefore we daven, especially in the month of Elul asking to be awakened to do teshuva like Yosef aroused his brothers to awaken them to confess. When we do confess and do teshuva we ask Hashem to forgive us like Yosef forgave his brothers. And, just as Yosef comforted and took care of his brothers from then on,  so too we daven that Hashem should take care of us both physically and spiritually. 

But we are asking for even more. Yosef had no choice. The only way Yosef could get his brothers to do teshuva and to wipe away their sin was with a little bit of suffering. Since however Hashem is infinite and Hashem able to do anything, we pray that he should awaken us to do teshuva, forgive us when we do teshuva, and then to take care of us physically and spiritually, all without any pain. The Rebbe the Tzemach Tzedek said that since Hashem able to do anything, Hashem can forgive us without pain.  

Therefore in the month of Elul we spend time to account for our lives, learn chassidus and daven for an arousal for teshuva etc. And then Hashem forgives us and brings all the brachos for our physical and spiritual needs for the entire year, most specifically the biggest necessity of all the immediate revelation of Moshiach now. 

A Good Shabbos 

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