Imagine a man is put on trial charged with having committed several crimes. After hearing the case; including the prosecution, defendant, and character witnesses, the judge is about to give his verdict. The judge turns round to the defendant and hands down the following decision: 'Mr Smith, you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt, but we have decided to give you one chance. You have one week in which you can go back and undo all the crimes you did – and then not only will we not punish you, but we will then reward you for all the crimes.' A Mr Smith with his brain in tact would not think twice about ensuring to go and undo those crimes in that day. The nimshal of that mashal is all a bit too striking; Tehsuva. The day of Yom Kippur is the holiest both in time (it's a ' shabbos shabbason') and in place (the only day the Kohen Gadol may venture into the kodesh kadoshim). And don't forget it was the day we finally received the Torah; the second set of luchos. Moreover, we are rocketed to resemble angels (we say baruch shem kevod…out loud). It is on this day that our capabilities of Teshuva being effective are the highest in that both teshuva and yom kippur coming together to wipe away our sins (for the exact breakdown see Rambam hil. teshuva 1;4). And what's more, not only does teshuva remove the punishment of the sins, it turns them into reward (since now one has learnt positive lessons from the sin and is in a stronger position not to do them again; R Tatz). Just like the court case above, this is the one day when we are given that opportunity to go back and undo all the actions of sin that we might have done, and just like the court case above, this is a tremendous unnatural chesed that there exists something like Teshuva as available to literally undo the past. Yet we are often so used to Yom Kippur that we get caught up in the details ("I'm hungry…when will the fast go out" "Only 200 pages to go in the machzor. Wait, that's 100 coz of the English pages") that we forget to take hold of our opportunity. Unfortunately, despite the ample time during the long davening, we do not manage to carve out a time for genuine internal regret of sin and resolve not to repeat the same mistakes. One reason (whether it is overt or dormant in its existence) is that often we say to ourselves 'who are you kidding; I cannot change all these things in one day let alone one year – it is not human to be able to be one person one day and a completely different person the next; it's my nature?' However, this is not necessarily true. R Pinkus brings a contradiction between several sources. Some imply that only complete mesirus nefesh in giving up sins is good enough, whilst others imply that any small degree of Teshuva suffices; even when not complete. He answers that both are true; any small change in someone is indeed complete mesirus nefesh; deciding to learn that extra five minutes is mesirus nefesh to dedicate these 5 minutes of one's life for HaShem, or not speaking lashon hara that one time is mesirus nefesh in preventing one's natural urge to talk. Thus, Teshuva can even be one small minute or less of genuine Teshuva. The gemarra (kidushin 49b) says that if a man gives kiddushin to a woman and agrees thus to marry her, on condition that he is righteous, the kiddushin is valid. The gemarra says that this even applies if the man is known to be a complete rasha, since he might have had a thought of Teshuva in his mind. This is also why we are not 'liars' on Yom Kippur when we claim to resolve not to repeat our sins, despite us knowing that the likeliness is that most will be repeated – since at those few seconds we are indeed truly on a level where we will not repeat the sins, regardless of what we might sink to in days to come. And HaShem judges us according to where we are at the present (Rosh Hashanah 16b). So too is there a widespread custom that Shacharis on the day after Yom Kippur starts 5 minutes earlier in order to show the Satan that we are improving. Is he blind? Who are we kidding – the next day Shacharis will be normal time? The answer is again, that those 5 minutes we have indeed made a precious improvement and are valuable in themselves (R Berger). This is also one explanation of how the gift of Teshuva works in general; the punishments and sins were done by me, and thus belong to me, but once I have changed and regretted those, I am a new person and thus the punishments and sins are no longer ascribable to me; I am no longer last year's me – I am the me of this year! In the mashal above, it would be the equivalent of a court order coming to the man's door, with him having the ability to prove that he is no longer that person who committed the crime (with a new passport and all!) and he can thus avoid the court order. This is known as shinuy hashem (changing one's name, ie their entire identity), and is not bound by time – one can change identity in even one genuine second. In summary, let's find the time this Yom Kippur for at least some moments for genuine introspection and true teshuva; believe me there is enough time available for it! Have a great Shabbes and Yom Kippur

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