The Mechanics of Teshuva
At face value Teshuva in general, and on Yom Kippur in particular, is a magical gift bestowed on the Jewish people. It is an incredibly generous gesture from the Holy One that seems to undermine our understanding of reward and punishment. Much effort has been devoted to explain how the mechanism of teshuva operates within the idea that we are responsible for our actions, and that although reward for Mitzvot is not expunged, somehow it is not the same for our sins. Some Midrash, and much Chassidut will be used to explore these issues.
The Mechanics of Teshuva: Lesson 1
The Most Irrational of Gifts…: As Elul introduces a month of introspection before Rosh Hashanah, it may be of use to ascertain how this process of Teshuva works within the system of reward and punishment. A man of systems, the Maharal of Prague with an assist from the Book of Mishlei will plumb the process with his usual novel insights. Let’s do Teshuvah together!
The Mechanics of Teshuva: Lesson 2
The Perfect Sacrifice; a blemished soul…It is well known that any animal sacrificed must fulfill rigorous criteria to constitute what it means to be without blemish. Yet,, for a human to do Teshuva, he must offer a broken spirit to the Holy One. Why is this blemish acceptable, and even essential? The perfect offering requires something so imperfect. How do we understand the atonement from offering an animal, and the atonement of the broken spirit? What are the mechanics of Teshuva, and why the difference?
The Mechanics of Teshuva: Lesson 3
Prepare to do Teshuva the day before you die…What does this mean? Are people generally aware of when that day is? Yet this is what Rabbi Eliezer requires. His students wonder if this is possible, and the Maharal has his own way of understanding the statement of Rabbi Eliezer. Come and learn.
The Mechanics of Teshuva: Lesson 4
Judgement Day is Coming……and we have to contemplate what it means to make Hashem ascend from the throne of judgement to the throne of mercy. Tonight we look at the Sefat Emet, and the Peri Tzadik to tell us how the Shofar puts the gears in motion. This will be the last class of the zman, and I will be taking a break for the fall semester. כתיבה וחתימה טובה