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DVAR TORAH: Teshuvah by Rabbi Baruch Lederman
Kehillas Torah, San Diego, CA 
www.kehillastorah.org.
SanDiego CandleLighting, schedule of services, classes, events: Go to
www.kehillastorah.org/shulweek.html
.

 

A young man traveled to seek the advice of the Saadia Gaon. The Saadia Gaon (c. 900) was one of the greatest and most important Rabbinic Scholars of all time. Many people sought out his wisdom. The young man arrived shortly before the High Holidays. He spoke about his situation with the Saadia Gaon and received a brilliant answer. The young man rested up before beginning his journey back home. While resting, he heard a strange sound. It sounded almost like howling.

The young man investigated and found the very same Saadia Gaon rolling in the snow, sobbing as if he were pleading to someone, but no one was there. Eventually he realized that the Saadia Gaon was in fact pleading with Hashem. The young man was struck with awe at this sight. The Saadia Gaon would cry and plead with Hashem for heavenly mercy and forgiveness of his sins, all the while rolling and writhing on the ground in the snow.

After the Saadia Gaon was finished, the young man unable to control his curiosity asked the Gaon why he did this.

The Saadia Gaon answered, "Once I was traveling and came across a man who did not know who I was. The man treated me normally and politely as anyone would treat a fellow Jew who was new in town. Later, others who knew who that I was a famous Torah scholar began heaping all kinds of honors upon me. When the first man heard that there was a famous Rabbi in town, he went to see who it was. When he saw that it was me, he was mortified. He threw himself down to the ground and begged my forgiveness for not treating me as one would treat a scholar of the Torah. I was taken aback by his behavior and assured him that I forgave him with my whole heart. I reminded him that he didn't know who I was at first, and that he never treated me badly. He treated me like any normal person."

"As I reflected upon the incident, it occured to me that if this is the manner in which a person askes forgiveness from another human being, how much more so should I beseech Hashem in this humbling pleading manner."

A lesser man might have become haughty and arrogant as a result of the great honor bestowed on him. Not the Saadia Gaon. He used that honor to teach him how to properly approach and honor Hashem.

Dedicated by Gersham & Chava Stein in memory of his father Jacob Stein.
Visit Congregation Kehillas Torah, San Diego, CA  www.kehillastorah.org.


 
   
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