Friday, September 22, 2023

Returning to Yourself

The Shabbos between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is famous for being referred to as Shabbos Shuva. The basic 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 in any particular place to return to? As far as I can tell, there is no need to return anywhere if I am not lost. The idea of Shuva touches on a much deeper concept regarding body and soul. Our bodies and souls conflict with one another throughout our lives. The body craves earthly pleasures since it is just a product of the earth. However, the soul craves spiritual pleasures since it is a product of the heavens where Almighty G-d resides. The more the body is taken care of and nurtured, the more the soul is neglected, the soul will feel empty and shallow. If this continues 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 the distractions of the materialistic world get in the way. Shuvah says don't pay attention to the materialistic 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. Have a Peaceful Shabbos, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

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