the Significance of Teshuvah
“And H’Shem, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee; fear not, neither be dismayed.”
– Deuteronomy 31:8, JPS 1917 Tanach
Moshe encouraged Joshua and the people, for they were about to cross into the Promised Land. He told them that H’Shem would go before them; so they should not fear, for He would be with them. To have emunah (faith), in this respect, is to trust that H’Shem would strengthen them, so that a dependence on Him could be fostered, rather than relying on their own strength. In this way, their enemies would be defeated – through H’Shem.
The same is true today, that H’Shem would like us to return to the simplicity of faith, by looking towards Him in all things. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5, JPS 1985 Tanach). For He will lead us forward through the nisyanos (challenges) of our lives.
When we are in a quandry, not able to see the light, there is a narrow path through which we may return to Him; thereby, stepping out of the mire that we may be in because of our own negligence and transgressions. So, teshuvah is the element that allows us to seek Him again when we have made the wrong choices in our lives, having turned away from the Torah given at Sinai.
“Turn Thou us unto Thee, O L-RD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.”
– Lamentations 5:21, JPS