Great tips on how current events should inspire us to teshuva from yesterday's Hakhel email:
Special Note Two: As Arab Governments (Yishmael) remarkably weaken and falter before our very eyes--only a few short years after the Western World (Esav) began tottering from both security and financial perspectives, we recall the words in last week’s Parsha in which Hashem advised Moshe Rabbeinu--”Ve’Roisa Ess Achorai U’Fanai Lo Yeira’u--You will see my ‘back’, but not my ‘face’--you will understand events after they happen but will not be able to understand them prior to then. We all know that something is happening--we simply don’t know what it is--and we are not supposed to, for if we did we would have Nevi’im . So what is left? Of course, it cannot be said enough--it is Teshuva--the desire, the longing, the movement, the actual strides to put your life and the lives of those close to you in the right direction.--in that very same direction as those20% who left Egypt, and not the 80% who tragically remained forever behind. The first steps in Teshuva are identifying the foibles and the shortcomings, the failures and the faults. The next step is feeling true remorse over them and realistically resolving how to not fall to them so easily again. Every day, we recite the words “Selach Lanu Avinu Ki Chatanu--Hashem, please forgive us for having sinned”. Without proper charata--remorse over a misdeed, what worth is the thrice daily lip movement? Is there any redeeming value to saying something to Hashem which you don’t mean now--even if you do intend to mean it five or six months from now when Elul gets closer? The key is valuing each day here and now, and not letting it pass without a new step in the direction of shleimus--making oneself whole as a person. Just as with the body--when we bang our foot, we begin to walk funny, so too it is with the soul--if our tongues are a bit too loose with a little loshon hora, or with coarse, hurtful, or non-complimentary words (even if they are simply only words that you wouldn’t say in front of your Rav, your Rebbe...or your shadchan)--then our Tefillos are also hurt and wounded, and our words of Torah are far from pristine. Not letting the indiscretion, the carelessness, the instinct-over-intellect, happen again, and doing this consciously and consistently, day after day, will provide daily elevation--not only in Shemiras Halashon, but in one’s precious words of Torah and Tefillah as well.
There is something even more powerful. As we have noted in the past, the Chasam Sofer explains that the month of Adar, according to his reckoning, is representative of Shevet Binyamin. He explains that the stone on the Choshen for Binyomin is Yospheh--which can be split into two words--Yesh Peh--he has a mouth. This, the Chasam Sofer explains, is what allowed Mordechai from Shevet Binyomin to be victorious over the Lishna Bisha--the evil words of Haman which were set to literally destroy K’lal Yisroel. Mordechai was a descendant of Binyomin who had a mouth--but kept it closed and did not tell his father Yaakov what his brothers had done to Yoseph; Binyomin’s descendent, Shaul Hamelech also had a mouth, but once again kept it closed until the time came to be declared King; Esther HaMalka as well did not reveal ‘moladata’, where she was from, despite the immense pressure from the king for her to do so--and as a result all of K’lal Yisroel was saved. Succinctly stated, the closed mouth of Binyomin--the Yoshpheh-- literally brought salvation to us all. By following in the Yoshpheh tradition (you may even very well be from Shevet Binyomin!), you are not only saving your own mouth from contamination, you are not only immensely approving your words of Torah and your words of Tefillah--but you are bringing us all one step closer to the Bais Hamikdash and Geulah--as Hashem’s House is especially nestled... in the nachala of Shevet Binyomin!
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