Thursday, October 3, 2019

Shabbos Shuva

The Shabbos between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is famous for being referred to as Shabbos Shuva. The primary reason for this name is that the Haftorah that is read begins with this word, Shuvah. The truth of the matter is, not only is the word Shuva the root of the famous word or idea Teshuva, it is a fundamental idea in Judaism. The meaning of Shuva is return. The puzzling thing about understanding Shuvah or returning, is where exactly are we returning to? Did we get lost from any particular place that we need to return to? As far as I can tell, if I am not lost, there is no need to return anywhere.

The idea of Shuva touches on a much deeper concept regarding body and soul. Throughout our lives, our bodies and souls are in conflict with one another. The body just craves earthly pleasures since it is just a product from the earth. However, the soul craves spiritual desires since it is a product of the heavens where Almighty G-d resides. The more the body is taken care of and nurtured, and the soul is neglected, the soul will feel empty and shallow. If this goes on for a while, a person may live with many external riches but feel an internal emptiness precisely because his soul has been neglected. Can anyone say mid-life crisis? This is where Shuvah comes in. It’s a message to tell your soul to return to its calling of connecting to the service of G-d. The soul ultimately wants to connect, but it’s the distractions of the materialistic world that get in the way. Shuvah says don’t pay attention to all the distractions. Just let your soul connect to its original mission. It would be a great message all year round but especially poignant a few days before Yom Kippur.

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