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ripples of water

Yom Kippur: Teshuva / Repentance, or more accurately, “To Return”

Lesson 28: Sept 27/Tishrei 7

The Lakewood mashgiach [Mussar supervisor of the yeshiva], Rabbi Nosson Meir Wachtfogel (1910-1998), was born in the Lithuanian town of Kuliai, where his father, was rav. His father was a student of the Alter of Slabodka, and Nosson Meir studied in the Mussar yeshiva of Kelm as a youth. After living in Canada for several years, at the age of 17, he enrolled himself at the Mir yeshiva in Belarus, where he remained for seven years. The Mussar emphasis and personal examples of the Mir mashgiach, Rabbi Yeruchom Levovitz, and his successor, Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein, had a profound influence on R’ Nosson Meir. In a book about his life and teachings called The Lakewood Mashgiach, it is told that:

When the Ponevezher Rav, R’ Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman (1886–1969), went to South Africa, he asked the Chofetz Chaim for a message to deliver there. The Chofetz Chaim told him to convey that teshuva is easy.

His thought had precedents. The Ramban commenting on parashat Nitzavim (Deuteronomy / Devarim 30:11) says that the “easy mitzvah” referenced in the verse: “it is not hidden from you and it is not distant… rather it is very near to you…” is referring to the mitzvah of teshuva!

Do you find teshuva to be easy? How do you understand this quote?

Your practice for this week is to engage directly in the four primary components of the teshuva process as delineated in the Practice document. Today, continue your focus on your relationship with God. Identify a challenging area in your relationship with the Divine and engage in the teshuva process as it pertains to this relationship.

See the details of your weekly practice by clicking HERE.

Click HERE to access an archive of our Elul material. Click HERE to access this week's video.

Today’s learning is sponsored by Regina Gradess and Bonni Kraus, in honor of Pearl Rosenzveig, who exemplified the middot of chesed — kindness and azut — determination. Our mother lived through antisemitism as a child and the ghetto and death camps of the Holocaust as an adult. She was a loving and loyal mother and wife, friend and neighbor. Her tenderness and skill with animals and plants were a marvel to witness. Now she is in the grips of the one thing she can’t overcome — increasingly severe dementia. She is an inspiration to us all.

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