Shabbat Shuvah: Recharge

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This coming Shabbat is Shabbat Shuvah, the Sabbath that comes between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Traditionally, it has been considered (along with Shabbat Hagadol before Passover) to be one of the most “important” Shabbatot of the year; it was one of two times during the year when rabbis were required to give a sermon to get the flock in order.
Why is this Shabbat so critical?  In the coming days, we will observe Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  According to our tradition, this is the day on which our sins are forgiven and wiped away…well, at least some of our sins.  Transgressions committed against God could be erased, but those committed against our fellow human beings could not be forgiven until we had made proper atonement for our offenses.  
But can’t this process occur at any time?  Can’t we choose to make things right with God and those around us during the other 364 days of the year?  Yes we can.  Yom Kippur, however, is kind of like marking a fiscal year; it is the day that Judaism recognizes as a time to take care of all that unfinished business.  The fact that it is accompanied by fasting and prayer helps us to focus on our spirits and less on the everyday distractions that often prevent us from being our best selves.
Shabbat Shuvah is the day on which we rest and recharge from Rosh Hashanah to prepare ourselves properly for the task at hand.  We need all our energy–physical and spiritual–to make the changes so that we can be right with our fellow humans and God.  Shabbat Shuvah (with or without a sermon!) is essential for our success.
Wishing all a Shabbat Shalom, and meaningful and productive fast.

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