A Joyous Yom Kippur – The Path Of Repentance

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The Talmud (Pesachim 86b) tells us that a guest should display good manners by eating whatever food his host offers him. However, there is one situation in which the Talmud tells us not to listen to the host.  Specifically, if the host tells the guest to leave, the guest should not listen!

Why does the Torah tell us on one hand to courteously comply with the host’s requests and on the other hand to refuse his demand to leave his home?

The great Kabbalist, Rabbi Moshe Kordevaro, sheds light on the meaning of this curious statement. He explains that this passage is an allegory, in which the host represents HaShem and the guest represents a person. There are times when a person sincerely dedicates himself to perform repentance, yet all of his attempts seem to be rebuffed. It is as if Heaven is resisting his efforts. In this light, the person may translate the events as a message that HaShem is saying, “Leave my house. I do not accept your return to Me.”

In response to this situation, in which a person falls into despair, the Torah tells him, “Do not listen to the Host!” Meaning, do not interpret your difficulties in performing repentance as a sign that HaShem has rejected you. Rather, rest assured that HaShem is merciful and He always shows compassion and love to  people who strive to come close to Him.

If your challenge is difficult, do not give up because HaShem NEVER gives up on you. This is especially so during the Ten Days of  Repentance and Yom Kippur, as King David said, “Seek HaShem when He is present, pray to Him when He is close.”  (Rabbi Moshe Kordevaro)

Today: Rejoice in knowing that HaShem is Merciful and will always welcome you into His presence.

Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and the Salant Foundation

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