12 Shvat 5781 / Monday, January 25, 2021 | Torah Reading: Beshalah
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A Second Chance    

A Second Chance

Aliya and Teshuva are the future of the Jewish people – our only future. With Moshiach fast on the way, the opportunities for a second chance are running out.


One of Rebbe Nachman’s most famous expressions sums up the principle of spiritual reinforcement and resilience in a nutshell: “One shall not be disheartened by the damages and blemishes of his many misdeeds…if you believe that it’s possible to ruin, then believe that it’s possible to rectify!” (Likutei Moharan II: 112).

Where did our beloved Rebbe and teacher learn the above principle? It sounds like the greatest lifeline in the world for anyone that looks back to the past – or even the present – and doesn’t especially enjoy what he sees.
Simply speaking, the mitzvah of “teshuva” corrects virtually anything and everything. But, the evil inclination puts doubt in people’s minds as to whether teshuva really works. Once again, it sounds like a great deal, “but maybe I won’t know how to do teshuva properly, and I’ll remain stuck in the mud…”
Rebbe Nachman knew full well the Yetzer’s tactics of injecting doubt and confusion in a person’s heart. The Rebbe had solid proof to show people that teshuva works without a doubt. The principle of Hashem giving a person another chance is anchored in the Torah, as we learn in the mitzvah of “Pesach Sheni” (see Numbers 9:10).
In brief, the main theme of “Pesach Sheni” is that a person who missed the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of “Pesach Rishon” (partaking of the Pascal lamb on Seder night - the night of the 15th of Nissan) because he was either far away from the Holy Temple or ritually impure, receives a golden second chance to full the mitzvah a month later on the 14th of Iyar. This wonderful opportunity is called “Pesach Sheni”, or “second Passover.”
“Far away” and “ritually impure” are metaphors as subtle as a herd of elephants. The Torah is obviously addressing the potential Baalei Teshuva of modern times with an important message straight from The Heavenly Throne: “My dear sons and daughters, don’t fret that you were born in a home that was far away from observant Judaism. Don’t worry if you did things that you’re not particularly proud of. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life in a rut. I have sent you the teachings of a great tzaddik whose flame will burn bright until the coming of Moshiach, both warming you and illuminating your way. I give you the gift of a second chance this very moment!”
We cannot possibly fathom an iota of Hashem’s love and compassion for His people. To rectify a missed Passover, He gives us one second chance a year. But to rectify our lives, we get 365 chances a year – at least one every single day. Indeed, Rebbe Nachman says that if we make a botched effort at a new beginning on a particular day, we can start all over again that very minute. So in fact, every single minute is a second chance to start over again and correct our lives. That’s 60 minutes multiplied by 24 hours a day, multiplied by 365 days a year, which equals 525,600 second chances a year! What phenomenal patience and loving kindness! Would your boss be so magnanimous? Even in baseball, its three strikes and you’re out…
There are two bromidic expressions that people use when giving excuses to why they don’t take advantage of Hashem’s second-chance gift:
The first, usually used by the older generation as an explanation of why they prefer an hour of television to an hour of teshuva and talking to Hashem, is, “I’m too old and/or set in my ways to deal with a new lifestyle.” Even though the truth screams out all around them, and they themselves live lives of borderline depression and general discontent except for a cheap thrill that the Yetzer tosses them from time to time, they won’t change: “Second chance? No thanks. Another slice of pizza will do just fine…”
The second is usually used by the younger generation as an explanation of why they won’t make Aliya and move to Israel: “My parents won’t let me – it will kill them if I leave!” Jewish law requires a person to live in the Land of Israel (see Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 5:12). A parent is certainly not allowed to prevent a son or daughter from fulfilling a mitzvah, especially when the parent is required to observe the mitzvah as well!
When it comes to Aliya – Hashem’s platinum second-chance gift to raise one’s family in the Land of Emuna, the holiest land on earth, children – even married ones in their 40’s and 50’s – are suddenly so submissive to Mommy and Daddy. Were they so submissive when they studied music in university when Mommy and Daddy wanted them to go to law school? Were they so obedient when they dated a certain individual that Mommy and Daddy couldn’t stand? We all know the answer.
Neither of the above two excuses will hold water in the Heavenly Court when the prosecution grills a person as to why he scorned the many opportunities Hashem gave him or her to do teshuva and make Aliya.
Aliya and Teshuva are the future of the Jewish people – our only future. With Moshiach fast on the way, the opportunities for a second chance may be running out. Let’s not miss the boat. Nobody here in Breslev Israel will have any consolation or satisfaction in saying that we told you so.  

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  1 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  fear doesn't always work
Anonymous,5/4/2009 4:43:24 AM

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