Friday, September 01, 2006

Repentance is part of the Divine Throne of Glory

The Gemara states that repentance is great because it reaches unto the Divine Throne of Glory, as it is stated Return, O Israel, unto HaShem your G-d. This Gemara is difficult to understand, as repentance can only reach the Heavenly Throne, as is evidenced by the Medrash that states that wisdom, prophecy, and the Torah all offered various responses as to the retribution of the sinner, and only HaShem Himself responded that the sinner should repent from his sins. There are many interpretations to this enigmatic Gemara, but we can suggest that the Gemara means that repentance is not just a one time performance like other mitzvos. The Gemara states that a mitzvah protects a person at the time he is performing the mitzvah. Repentance, however, is so beloved to HaShem that HaShem incorporates repentance into the Divine Throne of Glory. We find that when Moshe ascended upon high and the angels dueled with him regarding the Jewish People receiving the Torah, HaShem instructed Moshe, “take hold of the throne of My Glory and give them an answer.” The word for answer in the Gemara is Teshuvah, which also means repentance. HaShem was alluding to Moshe that the correct response to the angels’ protests was that the Jewish People can repent from their sins, and in this regard man is superior to the angels. Thus, repentance is great because it reaches the Divine Throne of Glory, i.e. it is the response to the angels as to why man was created and why the Jewish People received the Torah.

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