Monday, October 31, 2005

Return

Teshuvah is commonly defined as repentance, but it is probably more accurate to define it as return. A return to G-d (or a return to the way things were, for the nostalgic). I was thinking recently about the fact that we begin again with Bereishis, the sefer dealing with Creation, soon after Yom Kippur. We learn that teshuvah was created before Sheishes Yemei Bereishis, the Six Days of Creation. It is a chessed which is inherently necessary for the world to operate.

The 13 Middos of Rachamim (Attributes of Mercy) begin with "Hashem, Hashem". These are completely identical - except that the first denotes G-d before one has sinned, and the second denotes G-d after one has sinned. This might be explained as the human inability to alter (G-d forbid) G-d's status; He is immutable, regardless of sin. But perhaps more than that, it is an insight to another aspect of His greatness. Hashem denotes mercy (as opposed to Elokim, which denotes justice). To be merciful to a person in the same manner after his sin as He was prior to that sin is awesome, incredible greatness.