Melech Ozer u’Moshia u’Magen, O King, Helper, Redeemer, and Shield.
Melech is Rosh HaShanah. Ozer is Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. Moshia is Yom Kippur. Magen is Hoshanah Rabbah.
Melech Ozer, Aseres Yemei Teshuvah. To overcome the yetzer hara we need special siyata d’Shmaya…. Whatever level one is on, and whichever sin the yetzer is pushing him to transgress, one must battle the yetzer hara … there is no situation or person in the world that doesn’t involve battling the yetzer hara, because that is our purpose in This World…. But it is impossible for a person to defeat his yetzer without Hashem’s help. (Maarchei Lev, Rav Moshe Schwab)
I am on a small island; soon the ship’s whistle will summon those wandering on the land to board the ship of mercy that will return us home.
I’ve been here before; last year, two years ago, three…. Each time, I run with my last reserves of strength to the ship, promising myself I wouldn’t again wander off on this island of illusion, that I’d never leave the ship. Is there any value to my thousand regrets and my panicked pursuit of the ship, if next year I’ll find myself here, yet again?
How does this siyata d’Shmaya work in the mitzvah of teshuvah and removing one’s sins?
“Shuvah Yisrael ad Hashem Elokecha ki chashalta ba’avonecha; Return Yisrael unto Hashem, your G-d, for you have stumbled in your iniquity” (Hoshea 14:2). The Yalkut Shimoni (532) says on this pasuk, “Rabi Simai said: It can be compared to a large boulder at a crossroads, which many people tripped over. The king ordered: ‘Start chiseling away at it, little by little, until I come to remove it.’
This is what HaKadosh Baruch Hu says to Am Yisrael: My children, the yetzer hara is a huge stumbling block, but chisel away at it, little by little, and then I will come and remove it….” (ibid.)
There’s a boulder in my heart. A huge boulder of many sins and bad middos. How can I break this boulder? After all, last year, I was in this exact place. I thought I’d rolled this boulder off my soul and into the abyss of destruction, but it’s grown large again. Or perhaps it never left?
But, if after all his toil, the yetzer still remains strong, the person may despair: “I decided to stop committing a certain sin, and I reiterated my decision again and again, and yet, I am still stumbling in this sin….” This despair is the worst thing that can happen to a person, because he feels all his efforts are in vain.
However, in light of this midrash, we understand the avodah of milchemes hayetzer differently. Every time we overcome the yetzer, it’s as if we’ve chipped off another piece from that towering stumbling block. One more effort at guarding our eyes; one extra moment of learning…. Each of these is a blow to the yetzer hara, because of which, Hashem will eventually entirely remove the yetzer hara from within us. And although a person cannot uproot his yetzer hara completely, he who chiseled at it bit by bit will get credit for doing so. (ibid.)
Just one little bit, the King whispers to me with compassion and love. Hit the rock every day — as best you can — and pull away pieces.
The boulder is huge and strong; you can’t subdue it in one day. Just hit it incessantly, without backing down or despairing. The day will come when the King will remove the rock from your soul. Then, you will feel so light, so joyous, and it will be considered as though you removed the rock through your own efforts.
The Yamim Noraim are powerful days. Days of forgiveness, repentance, and mercy.
The ship’s whistle blows. I hurry to return. Yes, I was here last year, and perhaps, chalilah, I may be here next year as well. So what? Now I am hitting my boulder with all my might, chipping off small bits constantly. The King will eventually remove it.
“And he who merits ‘Melech,’ to coronate Hashem on Rosh HaShanah, and ‘Ozer,’ hitting the yetzer hara during Aseres Yemei Teshuvah to the best of his ability, will also merit ‘Moshia,’ the removal of the blockages in his soul on Yom Kippur…. (ibid.)
How wonderful to board the ship and return home.