The Teshuvah of the Rebbe Reb Zisha
During the ten days of teshuvah between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, the Rebbe Reb Zisha sat and received his congregants to bestow on them blessings and advice. The entire community of Anipoli stood waiting their turn for an audience with the Tzaddik, and while the Rebbe sat there in deveikus, in constant connection with the Creator, his eyes turned heavenward, as was his custom, and one of the assembled was seized with a sudden passion to repent. He began to sob, and as one flame ignites another, soon the entire assembly was weeping as a great awakening seized them all.
The great Tzaddik seized the opportunity and raised his hands in supplication. He beseeched the Almighty, “Ribbono shel olam! Master of the world! Surely now is an auspicious moment for me to do teshuvah. But what can Zisha do? I have no strength to do teshuvah properly. So what can I do but to send you the letters that spell teshuvah, and You, Master of the world, shall join them together. Tav: ‘Tamim tiheyeh im Hashem Elokecha — Be sincere and faithful with Hashem, your G-d’ (Devarim 18:13). Shin: ‘Shivisi Hashem l’negdi samid — I have placed Hashem before me at all times’ (Tehillim 16:8). Vav: ‘V’ahavta l’rei’acha kamocha — Love your fellow as yourself ’ (Vayikra 19:18). Beis: ‘Bechol derachecha da’eihu — Know Him in all your ways’ (Mishlei 3:6). Hei: ‘Hatznei’a leches im Elokecha — Walk modestly with your G-d’ (Michah 6:8). By these commands, Hashem, I will serve You!”
This was the teshuvah of the Tzaddik, the Rebbe Reb Zisha of Anipoli.
As Long as the Candle Burns
The Rebbe Reb Meilech of Lizhensk and his brother the Rebbe Reb Zisha of Anipoli wandered together in self-imposed exile for years to arouse repentance in the hearts and souls of the Jews with whom they came in contact. Once, they took lodgings in the home of a local villager. The man of the house was away and only arrived late that night. When he came home, he lit a candle and sat down at the table to mend his fur overcoat. “Hurry,” they overheard his wife call out. “Hurry up and mend it! You only have as long as the candle burns!”
When the brothers heard that, they immediately turned to each other and exclaimed, their faces full of wonder, “Did you hear that? What a lesson! Fix it, as long as the candle burns. As long as the flame of the Jewish soul burns bright, there is still a chance to mend it!”
Siach Sarfei Kodesh
Return, Returning Children!
The Rebbe Reb Zisha translated the words “Shuvu banim shovavim” (Yirmeyahu 3:22) as “Return, you returning children!” He taught that this alludes to the concept of repenting for one’s previous teshuvah (since each day you should have gained a new understanding of your service of Hashem, so your previous teshuvah has proven to be inadequate). So, you penitent children, who have already done teshuvah, still you must return!