JOYOUS REPENTANCE –
Mishna [51a bottom]: ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ was the Water Drawing Celebration on Sukkos in Yerushalayim. It included: Dancing, juggling, light shows, music with instruments and singing… Whoever did not see this “never saw (true) rejoicing in his life.”
Braisa [53a top]: Rabbis teach: At this ceremony, Baalei Teshuva (Penitents) would dance joyously and proclaim “Happy is our old age, which has atoned for (and rejected the ways of) our misspent youth!”
Ben Yehoyada: Youthfulness (immaturity) represents Gashmiyus (physical pleasures pursuits) and older age (maturity) represents Ruchniyus (spiritual strivings).
R’ Pinkas: White is purity (and clarity of light; complete unrefracted colors) and that is why as we age and mature our hair turns white.
R’ Rosner: The same amount of Zerizus (alacrity) with which we run after physical pleasures, must be (at least) equated to excitement about Torah, Chesed, Mitzvos, and all our Holidays.
E’s Lesson#1: It is never too late to turn our lives around. Even Baalei Teshuvas (no matter what their past included) were given a shot at center stage in the biggest ceremony. Hashem loves us all and ‘craves’ our Teshuva (returning to Him). Accept the invitation, and dance at the party.
E’s Lesson#2: We are shown our potential and capabilities by our Yetzer Hara (Y”H = evil inclination). Everything that we run after and strive for in the negative realm only shows us how amazing we can become if we switched our train onto the appropriately destined tracks.
R’ Tatz: Our Y”H are our best Chavrusas (learning partners). The Y”H never sleeps in, never misses a day, and if we are not on the ball even for a moment, sneaks in and grabs every available opportunity! What better opponent could we ask for to better ourselves? Use the Y”H’s blade to sharpen our swords and keep them powerfully pointed in the proper directions.