Teshuvah-Returning to Hashem

Teshuvah-Returning to Hashem: (Likkutei Torah)

The concept of repentance is not only associated with sin. It is also applicable even to one who has never transgressed. The meaning of Teshuvah is to return to one’s source. Every soul, through its descent below into the physical and corporeal world, goes through a grave spiritual downfall from its once sublime state. It now contains coarse connotations and loses the G-dly sensitivity it once had. This then is the goal of Teshuvah: to return one’s soul to its root and source in Hashem, and to once again be nullified to Him and incorporated within His unity. It is for this reason that the Ten Days of Repentance and Yom Kippur were instituted even for the completely righteous, the Tzaddikim Gemurim, as this aspect of Teshuvah is relevant to all people, for every human soul is incomparably lower than the state it enjoyed prior to its descent. Although the disciplinary measures demanded for Teshuvah are for one to regret past deeds and resolve to better one’s character, the inner meaning and motivation behind this regret and resolution must be because one truly desires to reconnect and attach to Hashem and enjoy the closeness previously experienced by the soul in Heaven.

A calling from the inner heart: The primary expression of Teshuvah, which actually returns man to his creator, is the cry of the heart. This is indicated in the verse, “Lecha Amar Libi Bakshu Panaiy/To you my heart says, ask for my inner self”, and the verse, “Mimamakim Kerasicha Hashem/From the depths I call onto G-d.” This verse means that to truly return to Hashem, one’s desire to bond with Him must reach the depths of one’s heart, on a par with the depth of existential value placed on one’s very survival and that of one’s family. When one digs deeper and reveals this feeling in the innermost core of his being, it enables a reciprocated revelation of Es Panecha Havayah Avakeish, that Hashem reveals His inner countenance to that person’s soul.

Returning until Hashem becomes Elokecha:

Based on the above, one can understand the reason why the verse stated, “Return until Hashem your G-d” rather than, “Return to Hashem your G-d.” The term Hashem, which is the name Havayah and the name Elokim, are both aspects of G-d’s manifestations, with the level of Havayah being higher than that of Elokim. Neither of these aspects refers to Hashem Himself, however; rather they only refer to Hashem as He manifests Himself in involvement with the worlds. In comparison to Hashem Himself, these levels are considered external and peripheral. The Teshuvah of a Jew must therefore reach above both the levels of Havayah and Elokim, until the higher level of Havayah is also viewed as if it is a lower level of Elokim. One must do Teshuvah from the innermost part of his heart to the point that he desires to connect to Hashem Himself, and will not suffice merely with the experience of the manifestation of Hashem in His names of Havayah and Elokim.

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