As we get closer to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur some of us get really nervous wondering how we will make it on Rosh Hashanah, while others prefer not to think about it. Fortunately, and not coincidently, this week's Parsha contains words of comfort and encouragement that can direct us in the right course in our preparation for the High Holidays. There are two verses that inspire a fresh approach.
In the first verse (26:16) Moshe tells the Jewish Nation, "This day, Hashem, your G-d, commands you to perform..." Rashi explains that "This day," conveys that "each day [the commandment] should be new in your eyes as if you were commanded that day." Similarly we find later in the Parsha Rashi comments on the verse (27:9) "This day you have become a people," that "everyday [the commandments] shall be in your eyes as if you had entered the covenant that day." The commentaries explain that both verses teach us that our covenant and the commandments should not become routine.
Perhaps we can add a new perspective to the above, based on what can be accomplished with Teshuva, repentance. Rabbi Meir Belsky zt"l in his
"Citadel and Tower" quotes a Yalkut Shimoni (Bamidbar 29:1) which states: "Says R'Tachlifa Kisiri, by all other sacrifices the verse writes "and you have offered," whereas here (by the sacrifices of Rosh Hashanah) it is written "and you shall make..." [Why is this so?] Says The Holy One Blessed He, "Since you have come before Me today and you have been acquitted, consider it as if 'today' you were made - as if today you were formed a new creation..." From this Yalkut we can infer that if Teshuva accomplished the recreation of a person, it would also mean that he received all the commandments anew that day. Therefore instead of looking back at the year with an attitude of resignation, it is better to harness the power of Teshuva, become a new person with a fresh set of commandments. Additionally, Teshuva is possible everyday as we strive to be better people. This can be an alternative approach to the concept that "each day [the commandment] should be new in your eyes as if you were commanded that day."
But we ask ourselves how can genuine repentance be accomplished? G-d may be willing to forgive us, but what of all the people we've wronged that we don't even know about or we are too embarrassed to approach? Aren't we told that if we haven't received forgiveness from our fellow even repentance of Yom Kippur won't help us?
The answer lies in a very encouraging Meshech Chochma at the end of this week's Parsha. After describing the initial effort required from the Jewish People to vanquish Amalek, with the proper trust, G-d will assist us.
The Meshech Chochma goes on to say that this procedure is also applicable in regards to our battle with the Yetzer Horah and repenting. If one makes sincere initial effort towards repentance, Hashem will help us with the rest. He will even place the thought in the minds of our friends to forgive us. May we make that initial effort and may Hashem bless us with His assistance, so that we achieve true Teshuva.