The summertime precedes the Yom Hadin; it precedes Rosh Hashana. Why wasn't Rosh Hashana at Pesach time, or at Chanuka time, or in middle of the winter, asara b'teives, the cold months? That's a wonderful time for teshuva! Nobody's interested in the streets, and traveling to the mountains. It's cold outside, everyone is indoors; they come hear droshos in a warm building. That's the most suitable time it seems for repentance!
Hakadosh Baruch Hu is the architect who planned this universe according to the Torah, and therefore He made Rosh Hashana follow the summer. Just when you took in all of your crops, just at a time when everything is ripe, and you study the greatness of Hashem, and now is the very best time to do teshuva.
I'll repeat what I told you recently. You know Elul, up till recently, was considered the month of teshuva. Elul was the month which the Jewish nation utilized to prepare for Rosh Hashana. Today they prepare for Rosh Hashana, Rosh Hashana evening. A frum Jew is mehareir b'tshuva when he has to go to maariv on Rosh Hashana. If he has good sense, before he leaves the house he says to his wife, "Forgive me for everything…" and she says to him, "Forgive me too for everything..." By the way it's a good idea, only the wise people did it a little earlier.
The Alter of Slabodka in the middle of the month of Av, he forsook his beloved Yeshiva of Slabodka where he was the mentor, he was the teacher, and he went to his old 'alma mater' so to speak, in Kelm. Kelm was the source of the old balei mussar. And he sat there as a disciple. He was an old man, but he sat as a disciple for the half month of Av, preparing for Elul! Because Av is the glorious month of happiness which is suited forteshuva.
The highest teshuva is the teshuva when people can see the hand of Hashem, when it's most active, when it's most bounteous, when the cornucopia of Hashem's blessings is shedding all of the happiness upon mankind. People may not think so, because they are accustomed to griping all the time, and complaining "it's hot", and they talk to each other about their sufferings, and the heat wave and so on.
Each heat wave causes nature to make another spurt. The apples are baking on the trees; you don't have to bake the apples, they are baked already by the time you buy them. They are being baked by the summer heat. You don't complain when your wife is baking a cake, look how hot it is! You can't bake a cake in the refrigerator; you can't bake apples in the wintertime! You have to bake apples in the summertime. Hakadosh Baruch Hu isbaking the apples, He's baking everything else, enjoy it.
Landlords don't have to pay for oil in the summertime, and most dentists have less business, because there are no tooth aches in the summertime, people don't go to the dentist because of good sense, they go when there is a toothache, and in summertime toothaches are more rare. Arthritis sufferers enjoy the summer sun, it bakes their old bones and it makes them happy.
Therefore, summer is a time for gratitude, the summer also is a time where all nature is alive, and therefore that's the time to do teshuva. It's a new idea, but it's an old idea, it's Hakadosh Baruch Hu's idea, and that was His purpose at the beginning of the world.
Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210