Sunday, October 5, 2008


Today, the Sabbath of Teshuvah “repentance,” ordained a prophetic reading that proclaimed the obligation to “Return O Israel unto the Lord your God, …”(Hosea 14:2)
Moreover the prophet points out a spiritual strategy by which a movement toward Teshuvah can be accomplished. The approach is contained in the urging that you “take words-devarim- with you” and by way of these words you will able to embark on an inner journey toward God.
The question, of course, arises: What words does the prophet have in mind? Words of Torah? Beyond a doubt. However, this remains much too general, unspecific and abstract. I believe that the following verses help us define more clearly for ourselves the path of our Teshuva.
“Say to Him: Forgive all sins, accept what is good…we will pay the offering of our lips.”(v. 3)
Words directed at God can become compelling instruments of inner change when directed to ourselves.
“Forgive all sins”-Be compassionate toward yourself and toward others; let go of the desire to find fault and seek retribution; turn away from anger and envy and turn your heart to the good and the decent in yourself and in others.
“Accept what is good”-kach tov- instead of the common translation found in the Etz Hayyim Commentary, I would translate kach more literally as “take.” This word as response resonates with the urging the we kechoo, take words with us for this critical spiritual undertaking. ”Take the good”-See the giftedness and beauty of life, cultivate this awareness and the inner attitude of gratefulness; join God in perceiving the world as “and it was good.”
“…pay the offering of our lips.” Open your heart and lips with praise and prayer; give voice to your feeling of being grateful for words of praise have the power to transform one’s life into a space of goodness and joy.
Whether in the synagogue, at home, by a babbling brook, gratefulness summons our hearts and minds to return to the Source of all goodness,

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