Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Acharei Mos - 5779
TIME FOR TESHUVA
We, as a nation, are blessed with many holidays. They are mentioned in several places in the Torah. In most cases, the text states a date, and after that the unique laws and Mitzvot of the day are listed. In this week’s Paresha, we find an exception to the rule. After a detailed explanation of a special service performed by the High Priest, we are told that all of the aforementioned ritual is to be done on the 10th day of the seventh month, namely on Yom Kippur.
The obvious questioned to ask is: why the Paresha does not begin with the date? Why only at the end are we told that this special service is to be done on Yom Kippur?
When it comes to all Mitzvot that are bound by time, the action on the wrong date serves no purpose. For example, eating Matzah on Chanukah is not considered a good deed done for religious duty. Thus, a Mitzvah not on its designated date is unnecessary (and in some cases even wrong). However, the special Mitzvah of Yom Kippur-Teshuva (Repentance) is worthy and beneficial at any time.
Thus, although Teshuva on Yom Kippur is far more powerful than at any other time, the Torah wants us to view it as a good practice at any time, and does not introduce it as one that is limited to a specific date.