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Parshas Netzavim–Vayelech 5777 - Hahem Turns Our Sins Over into Mitzvos

 


ד' אלקיך הוא עובר לפניך הוא ישמיד את הגוים האלה מלפניך וירשתם

“Hashem your G-d passes in front of you; He will destroy these nations before you and you will inherit them.” (Devarim 31:3)


We know that Hashem’s presence fills the entire world. Hashem is everywhere! What is the meaning of the words “Hashem passes in front of you”? Isn’t Hashem everywhere? Aren’t we reminded to behave as if we are constantly in front of Hashem’s presence?

 

The Gemara tells us that Hashem says: “I created the yetzer hara and I created the Torah as its tavlin- an antidote to the yetzer hara.” The Torah enables us to combat and overcome our evil inclination.

 

Interestingly, the word tavlin is also used in reference to Shabbos. The Gemara relates how Reb Yehoshua ben Chananya served a Roman officer some Shabbos food. When the officer took the recipe, his chef was unable to imitate the distinct flavor of the dish. Reb Yehoshua revealed to the officer: “We have a special tavlin – spice, called Shabbos.” (i.e. the holiness of Shabbos gives the food a special flavor, which cannot be duplicated during the week.)

 

So we see that Shabbos is also referred to as tavlin, which could mean that Shabbos is also an antidote to the yetzer hara. How so? Shabbos is a time of repentance. On this lofty, joyous day, Jews everywhere become close to Hashem and repent out of love – which is the highest form of tshuva.


When a person repents out of love of Hashem (as opposed to out of fear of retribution), not only are his sins forgiven but they are actually counted as mitzvos! This is the meaning of the words that Hashem is over al pesha – he passes over the sins. He doesn’t just discount the sins, but He actually turns them over into mitzvos.

 

The yetzer hara collects the sins of the Jewish people in order to prosecute them, but then comes Shabbos and the Jewish people repent out of love of Hashem. Their sins are turned into mitzvos, and the yetzer hara is left without any evidence.

 

Tzaddikim have said that the Shabbos before Rosh Hashana destroys the prosecuting evidence. Shabbos is an effective tavlin – antidote of the Satan.

 

This is the meaning of the verse: “Hashem Elokim” – the Name Hashem signifies Divine mercy, and the Name Elokim signifies Divine judgment. Hashem is full of mercy, but sometimes judgment is unavoidable. In those instances, He “passes before you.” He will pass the sins into mitzvos, in the merit of Shabbos, and then “he will destroy the nations” – a reference to the prosecuting angels who speak against the Jewish people. “And you will inherit them” - not only will they remain quiet, but you will inherit their entire stock of sins, which will be turned into mitzvos!

 

May we indeed merit a favorable judgment on Rosh Hashana everyone should merit a kesiva v’chasima tovah, and be inscribed for a sweet new year, Amein.

This Weeks Divrei Torah is dedicated in honor of:
Shmuel ben Chaim
Feinberg A"H
5708-5769 9 Shvat

This Weeks Divrei Torah is dedicated in honor of:

 
 
 
 
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