“Return, O Israel, for you have stumbled in your sin” (Hosea 14:2).

Um, who has the remote control? Can someone please change the channel?!

face it, none of us really want to hear a fire-and-brimstone reproof of
all of the things we’ve done wrong and how we must mend our ways. This
is basic human psychology and is obviously the great challenge facing
all rabbis in the preparation of their Shabbat Shuva sermons.

Shabbat Shuva, which is so called because of the first word “Shuva,
return, in the week’s haftarah reading (Hosea 14:2 -10), is the Shabbat
between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Traditionally, it is this Shabbat
sermon that is regarded as the highlight of the year, the premier
opportunity for rabbis to inspire their congregants to work harder on
becoming better Jews. The goal, as with all things in the 10 days
between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, is teshuva, repentance.
(It is interesting to note that in many communities in pre-war Europe,
the Shabbat Shuva sermon was one of only two sermons that the rabbi
delivered during the year – the other being just before Passover.)

what is the source of inspiration, and what motivates change? There are
those who want to be humored into self-improvement, while others wish
to hear inspiring stories of triumph over challenge.

the prophet Hosea said it best: “Whosoever is wise, let him
understand these things, whosoever is prudent, let him know them. For
the ways of God are right, and the just walk in them; but transgressors
do stumble therein” (14:10).

This Treat is reposted in honor of Shabbat Shuva.

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