Teshuva TODAY!!!


לזכות ידי”נ ר’ חיים יהושע בן ר’ אפרים הכהן וכל משפחתו

If we would understand the value of teshuva we would be filled with simcha and would have no trouble doing teshuva. 

What is teshuva? The Gemara [Shabbos 153] relates that R’ Eliezer said that one should do teshuva one day before his death. The students asked how a person knows when he is going to die? He answered that since he doesn’t know he will do teshuva every day, lest it be his next to last and this way one will do teshuva every day of his life. Shlomo Hamelech also said – בכל עת יהיו בגדיך לבנים – “At all times should your clothing be white” [i.e. you should be pure]. Ad kan divrei hagemara. 

Why is teshuva connected specifically to death? Is there not teshuva without death??

The Gemara says that if a kohen gives his wife a גט and says that this divorce should take effect one hour before my death [thereby freeing her from Yibum], she may not eat Terumah [as a kohen’s wife] immediately, lest he die in the next hour. Rebbi Meir permits. 

The Rashba explains [Yevamos 18] that Rebbi Meir is not worried that someone will die in such a short period of time [just like he is not concerned for בקיעת הנאד – See גיטין כ”ה]. Therefore when he said “one hour before I die”, if you forbid her immediately then you have forbidden her forever [because that would mean that we are always חושש that he will die in the next hour] but according to R’ Meir we are not concerned that he will in the next hour and she is thus permitted to eat terumah forever [until he actually dies]. This would mean that R’ Yehuda [who argues with R’ Meir] holds that we can’t permit her to eat now because by doing so we are permitting her to eat forever and that can’t be because we KNOW that EVENTUALLY he will die. 

That is what the R’ Eliezer means when he says that one will do teshuva every day because EVERYBODY eventually dies and since teshuva must be done before death, it behooves everyone to do teshuva today. 

Even according to R’ Meir who holds regarding terumah that we are not concerned lest he die in the next hour – he agrees regarding teshuva because for every sin one must die and he thus loses his חזקת חיים [assumption of life] for who doesn’t sin from time to time.  

[ טוֹב וְיָשָׁר ה’ עַל כֵּן יוֹרֶה חַטָּאִים בַּדָּרֶךְ (תהלים כה, ח). שאלו לחכמה חוטא מה עונשו, אמרה להם, הנפש החוטאת היא תמות. שאלו לתורה, חוטא מה עונשו, אמרה להם, יביא אשם ויתכפר לו. הדא הוא דכתיב (ויקרא, א, ד), וְנִרְצָה לוֹ לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו. שאלו להקדוש ברוך הוא, חוטא מה עונשו אמר להם, יעשה תשובה ויתכפר לו. זה שכתוב, טוֹב וְיָשָׁר ה’ עַל כֵּן יוֹרֶה חַטָּאִים בַּדָּרֶך. בני מה אנא בעי מנכון, דרשוני וחיו, אמר ר’ פנחס למה הוא טוב, שהוא ישר. למה הוא ישר, שהוא טוב. על כן יורה חטאים בדרך, שהוא מורה להון דרך, שיעשו תשובה.]

That is what Hashem meant when he told Adam – ביום אכלך ממנו מות תמות – on the day you eat from the tree you will die. This means that you will lose your חזקת חיים and will therefore eventually die and that is like death. ביום אכלך ממנו מות תמות. 

THAT is teshuva – knowing that due to sin one loses his חזקת חיים and he must therefore do teshuva. 

Sin is death. Teshuva is life.