Dvar Torah Nitzavim – The Time is Now!

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    Nitzavim – The Time is Now!
    By: Rabbi Avraham Bukspan

    ושבת עד ה’ אלקיך- And you will return unto Hashem, your G-d (Devarim 30: 2).

    According to the Ramban (30: 11), this is the source of the mitzvah of teshuvah.

    In several places (Bereishis Rabbah 21:6; Yalkut Shimoni, Noach : 62), the Midrash brings proofs that the word “ve’atah – and now,” is referring to teshuvah. In its words: “Ve’ein atah ella li’seshuvah – The word ‘now’ only applies to teshuvah.”

    The Midrash Tehillim (Chapter 65) explains that just as the sea is never locked, but anyone who wants to bathe can come and bathe at any time, so it is regarding teshuvah. Any time a person wishes to do teshuvah, Hashem will accept it.
    There is another explanation, brought down by Hegyonei Yitzchak (derush 16:4), which provides a most important lesson to us all. As mentioned in Parashas Bamidbar, the Gemara (Yoma 22b) tells us in the name of Rav Huna: “Shaul sinned once and brought calamity upon him; David sinned twice and did not bring evil upon him.”

    Why was Shaul punished so harshly, while David’s sins were forgiven?
    If we look at the two events, we see that both David and Shaul were reprimanded by a navi. And while both confessed their guilt, the speed at which they did so was not equal.
    When Nassan HaNavi gave tochachah to David HaMelech for taking another man’s wife (II Shmuel 12), as soon as David heard that Nassan’s parable was directed toward him, he said, “I have sinned against Hashem,” without making excuses or placing the blame on anyone else.
    However, when Shaul failed to completely eradicate Amalek as per Hashem’s commandment (I Shmuel 15), he did not immediately admit his sin. First, when confronted by Shmuel HaNavi, he made a defensive argument. Then he blamed his soldiers. Only when told again that he would no longer be king did he admit that he had sinned.

    Real teshuvah means acting now, without delay or excuse. David recognized his mistake and promptly admitted it and did teshuvah, while Shaul did not admit his error right away. Because David understood “ve’ein atah ella li’seshuvah,” he retained the throne.

    We all make mistakes. The trick is to be honest with ourselves. If an admission comes on the heels of explanations and excuses, such an admission must be lacking. We must promptly admit to wrongdoing, without justifications. “Ve’ein atah ella li’seshuvah.”

    In Parashas Behaaloscha, we read how Miriam spoke negatively to Aharon of Moshe’s separation from his wife. Hashem addressed Aharon and Miriam and faulted them for not appreciating that Moshe’s level of prophecy was far greater than that of any other navi, including them. The Torah then says (Bamidbar 12:9), “Vayichar af Hashem bam vayeilach – Hashem’s anger flared up against them, and He left.”
    Usually, a person is first angry about a misdemeanor and the he criticizes the wrongdoer. Here, it is in the reverse. First the pasuk tells us that Hashem chastised Aharon and Miriam, and only then does it say that He was angry. The Seforno (ad loc.) explains that Hashem was angry at them after He criticized them, because they did not admit their sin immediately as David had done. We have no indication that Aharon and Miriam were contrite and humble after being rebuked. Accordingly, the anger was not for what they had done, but for what they had not done.
    “Ve’ein atah ella li’seshuvah.”

    Reb Eliezer

    It says גדולה תשובה שמביא את הגאולה, teshuva is great as it brings the redemption and it also says גדולה תשובה שמקרבת את הגאולה, teshuva is great as it accelerates the redemption? Explains the Ksav Sofer, there are two times for the geula, beita, in its fixed time and achisheno, before its fixed time. הנסתרות לה’ אלקינו for the fixed hidden time we have no control over it, the decision belongs to Hashem, but הנגלות the accelerated open time לנו ולבנינו is dependent on us לעשות when we do the Torah. If we do teshuva meyiro, from fear, the geula will be at the fixed time but if done from ahava, from love, wanting to get closer to Hashem, He will also accelerate, bring the geula closer before the fixed time.

    Reb Eliezer

    It says וידעת היום realize today והשבתך אל לבבך says the holy Alshich, it says והיה עקב תשמעון the end will be that we will do teshuva and listen, so we might as well not wait and do it today.

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