This Shabbos is known as Shabbos Shuva – named after the first words of the Haftara. In the Haftara, the Prophet Hoshea is giving the Jewish people advice and encouragement how they can come close to G-d. He begins with the words, “return Israel to G-d.” We are capable of doing Teshuva – G-d gives us the opportunity to come close to Him. If it was an impossible task – an exercise in futility - the Prophet would have given up on us. He would not say to repent.
However, the Prophet does not give up on us. He tells us to repent with sincerity and we will be successful because the sins that we have committed are not sins of rebellion. Rather, they are sins that are a result of mistakes that we made or of matters that are beyond our control. We must not be discouraged at our prospects. While it is true that we have done some things incorrectly . . . we have done some wrong, we usually don’t do wrong because we want to do wrong – we want to go against the Torah. We are human beings who make mistakes.
The Prophet Hoshea concludes with the words, “the ways of G-d are proper, and the righteous will walk in them, and the sinners will stumble in them.” Many events happen in the world that we don’t understand. Many good people suffer and we don’t understand. Why do the Jewish people suffer so much? We think that it is not fair – it is unjust. Hoshea tells us that we should not think in that direction. Sinners think along those lines. Righteous people realize that everything is under the direction and supervision of G-d.
This is a step for teshuva - repentance. We must keep G-d in our minds and realize that He is the source of everything. Keeping that idea in mind will keep us away from problems – religiously and theologically. It is one of the main ideas of this Holiday season. Through our efforts of teshuva, we ask G-d for a good and healthy year.