September 9, 2021 / Tishrei 3, 5782 • Parshat Vayelech/Shabbos Shuvah
Issue 683
Dedicated in loving memory of Mrs. Miriam Friedman

Shabbos Teshuvah

This Shabbos gets its name from the the Haftarah read this week,

which begins with the words (“Return, O Israel”). In addition, this

Shabbos is between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, a

period that is called the Ten Days of Teshuvah.

Usually, teshuvah is commonly translated as “repentance.” Repentance means feeling sorry for something wrong that we have done. When we have done something wrong to another person that we later regret, we say “I am sorry,” and hope that the person will forgive and forget.

But this is not the case when we are dealing with sins that have been committed against G-d. For as we said in the Musaf prayer of Rosh

Hashanah, “There is no forgetfulness before the throne of

Your Glory.” Since G-d does not forget, how can He “forgive and forget” when we do teshuvah?

The answer to this question can be found in the word teshuvah itself.

In truth, teshuvah does not merely mean to repent and

to be sorry—although both are vital to the teshuvah process.

Teshuvah (from shuva) means “return.”

We are not strangers to G-d. We are His children. A father’s love for his child does not depend on how well behaved or intelligent his child is. A father loves his child unconditionally and at all times. Even if a child has misbehaved and decided to leave his father, the father will call out: “Return!”

This is what G-d does every year. Although He knows everything and forgets nothing, His love for us is boundless and He does His utmost to bring us back


This is the meaning of Shabbos Shuvah: G-d is welcoming us back home.

The transformational process of teshuvah, in which we abandon the ways of the past and return to G-d, creates within us a new reality and we are no longer remembered for our transgressions, for we are now considered completely different human beings, (Rambam Hilchos Teshuvah 2:4).

—from Pearls for the Shabbos table