This Shabbos is called Shabbos Shuva, the Shabbos of return or repentance. The term Shuva is borrowed from the first word of the Haftorah “Shuva Yisroel ― Return Israel ― for you have tripped up in sin.”

We are taught that if we do something special this Shabbos in honor of and in the spirit of Shabbos, it will demonstrate to G-d our eagerness and willingness to change and come close to Him. This will impact positively on our judgement.

Our Sages point out that if the three letters “Shin, Bais and Tuf,” that spell the word, Shabbos, are rearranged, they spell Tashuv – return or repent.

This means that every Shabbos is endowed with energy to assist a person to return and mend his ways towards the Almighty. However, the Shabbos between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur holds a more potent power and effectiveness to bring a person closer to the Almighty.

Therefore, if we refrain from doing a prohibited action this Shabbos and appreciate the gift of sanctity of Shabbos that G-d gave specifically to us, G-d will afford us the ability to continue, and will look favorably upon us on the upcoming Day of Atonement.

I vividly recall on a few occasions, Mr. Murray Weinberger o.b.m. walking past our home in the Hill Section on Shabbos Shuva to Daven. He proudly stated that he was making the trek from his home in the East Mountain section, in honor of Shabbos Shuva. He and others who were raised in Old Forge, PA had a Melamed – a teacher and Shochet – in the early 1900’s by the name of Mr. Eisen o.b.m. He imparted to them that Shabbos Shuva was extremely holy and was to be treated like Yom Kippur. I just spoke to Mr. Sonny Moskowitz who still resides in Old Forge, and he confirmed that in his home and in the other Jewish homes in Old Forge they observed Shabbos Shuva. Stores were closed, there was no riding and lights and switches were left alone.

G-d wishes that we mend our relationships with our fellow man as well. Two spot on stories: A man borrowed a large sum of money from a wealthy friend and agreed to repay the loan in 12 months time. When the year was up, he did not have the money to repay the loan. Because he was hoping to come up with the money shortly he did not discuss his situation with the lender. Months went by without any change in his financial situation. He felt embarrassed and could not bring himself to discuss the situation with his friend. It got to the point that he could not handle being in the same room with him, since he felt like his friend was looking at him the wrong way.

To avoid seeing the lender, he prayed in a different synagogue, and if he was at a Simcha and the lender would appear, he would leave immediately.

It got to the point that he was so overcome with embarrassment that he decided to leave the community to avoid embarrassment.

Before doing so, he confided in his rabbi. The rabbi suggested that he first go and talk to his friend. Well, he braced himself, and went to his friend’s home. Barely able to speak, he finally began: “You know, two years ago I borrowed ten thousand dollars from you….” “You did?” The surprised friend replied, “I totally forgot about it…How can I assist you further?”

The story is told about two brothers-in-law who were great friends and then had a falling out and did not talk to each other for twenty years.

They were both in attendance at a funeral of a family member and at the end of the service, the brothers-in-law entered the opposite doors of one of the awaiting limousines and wound up sitting next to each other. Awkward! Each one began minding their own business. Finally, one of them turned to the other and cleared his throat and asked, ‘Do you recall over what it was that made us upset with each other?’ The other responded, ‘Honestly, I do not remember.’ He then seized the opportunity, and said, “If we both don’t remember, what is the point of having enmity against each other?’ They both embraced and renewed their close relationship of old!

I suspect that many conflicts could be avoided if communication existed between both parties. These days before Yom Kippur give us a great opportunity to mend estranged and severed relationships. The results of making peace with one another not only positively affects the parties involved, but it has a global impact as well. It makes our world a better place and G-d looks kindly upon it!