Wednesday, Dec 7, 2022

Taanis 21: Attaining Atonement

On this daf, we find that Nochum Ish Gam Zu brought suffering on himself for atonement.

The weeks between Parshas Shemos and Parshas Mishpotim—and during a leap year until Tetzaveh—are a special time to atone for illicit thoughts, speech and actions. This time, known as Shovevim, or Shovevim Tat, an acronym of the parshiyos it spans, is an opportunity that many squander. They are not sure what extra practice they should take on during this time.

The Toldos Aharon Rebbe lists what one should do to fully utilize this gift. It is interesting that virtually all of these tikkunim involve mesirus nefesh in one way or another. “Firstly, Tehillim is very helpful, as the Bnei Yissoschor explains. The second rectification is to make a commitment to act with mesirus nefesh. The Divrei Chaim explains that one atones for blemishes in personal purity solely through mesirus nefesh with great longing with every fiber of one’s being. In this manner, he rectifies the tremendous spiritual damage that he caused.

“Giving tzedakah also repairs this. Charity is most efficacious when one pushes himself to give every penny possible, even scrimping on himself as much as he can, giving the money he would have spent to tzedakah instead.”

The Pri Megadim writes that it is especially important to give tzedakah and do chesed during Chanukah. Since the Greeks wished to stop the Jewish people from Torah, avodah and gemillus chassodim, we should focus on learning Torah, davening with intensity and doing chesed – especially tzedakah – during Chanukah (Divrei Emunah, Part II, p. 6; Divrei Shmuel, Chukas, p. 154).

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