Rabbi Chaim Druckman, head of Or Etzion Yeshiva, said Monday at a study day about the Days of Awe that repentance, or teshuva, is a return to a person's source.
The term Days of Awe, or HaYomim HaNoraim, usually designates the days beginning at Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year, and ending on Yom Kippur. The study day was held to mark the fifth anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Binyamin Aviad, who was Rabbi of the Shafir Regional Council.
The study day included lessons by several leading Jewish sages, including Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Tzfat (Safed); Rabbi Yosef Sheinin, Chief Rabbi of Ashdod; Rabbi Yosef Zini of Ashdod; Rabbi Shlomo Ben Eliyahu, Rabbi of Mateh Asher Regional Council and Rabbi Binyamin Aviad's son-in-law, as well as Rabbi Druckman.
About 200 yeshiva students attended the study day. Rabbi Druckman, who gave the final lecture, addressed the question of “What is repentance?”. He explained that HaShem (G-d) created Man without sin and that on the month of Elul, Man must return to his “root point,” where his true essence resides. The Rabbi mentioned the midrash (Biblical exegesis) on the verse from the Song of Songs, “Dark am I, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem; Dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon [Shlomo]" (1:5).
He explained that the midrash learns the word simlah from the name Shlomo (spelled with the same Hebrew letters). The simlah is made of sheep's wool and which is originally clean and "so the people of Israel are originally clean of sins and although they sin, they become whitened again by teshuva which is a man's point of origin,” he explained.
The Or Etzion Yeshiva noted that besides sponsoring the study day, Rabbi Aviad's family continued its tradition of granting study scholarships to the yeshiva's students, in memory of the rabbi.