Shlomo Ezagui

Spiders and Refurbishing Our Soul

Nick Fewings

The mitzvah of Teshuva is the opportunity God gives us through this Mitzva and commandment to restore our soul and entire connection and relationship with God. It is one of the greatest gifts of kindness God has granted us.

King Solomon teaches that there is a season for everything. The season for each matter is the most perfect and most opportune moment for that particular matter.

The ten days of repentance begin with Rosh Hashanah and end with Yom Kippur, when God’s infinite mercy is more radiant than on other days of the year, making it the best time to perform the Mitzvah of Teshuvah. During this period of time, God is “Close” and could more easily be “Found.”

Both words, Mitzvah and Teshuvah, are inaccurately translated into English.

Generally, we understand Mitzvah as a commandment, an order and burden God places upon us. That is not the case. God is the Creator and King of the Universe. He does whatever he desires, and because God is infinite, he has everything and needs nothing from anyone. When God asks us to do something for Him, it is not for His sake — it is purely and totally for our benefit. We are fortunate that He has noticed us, the little things that we are, and allows us to be important in His eyes through this Mitzvah (commandment) and earn a reward.

A Mitzvah, therefore, is always for our physical and spiritual good.

Teshuvah is generally understood as repentance from sin. The more accurate interpretation of the word is to “return and re-establish.”

Our souls enter our bodies pure and pristine. The soul at birth is bright, full of warmth, and connected in faith with God. As we grow older and become independent, our complete, unadulterated, and uncomplicated attachment to God becomes compromised, filtered, and narrowed by our egos and minds.

The Mitzvah of teshuvah, therefore, is the opportunity God gives each one of us to re-establish this mighty bond, notwithstanding any of the choices we made in the past that compromised or challenged our soul’s connection with God. Choices that suffocate the flame inside, choices that hurt the vessel that holds the oil… are all given a chance to be mended during this season.

My teacher and mentor, Rabbi Mendel Futerfas, learned a great lesson from a spider and his web. If the fly does not give up and keeps moving its wings, the spider (which in classical Judaism is compared to the evil inclination within) will not go after the fly. Only after the fly gives up entirely the spider has succeeded with his catch.

The Bible tells us no one is perfect. Everyone has an area in which they can improve. The most important thing is that a person never gives up moving his wings to free himself from the schemes of the evil inclination. As long as a person never gives up, he is assured by God that he will not lose his battle with the spider and, in the end, good will always prevail.

The essence of this act, teshuvah, which gives us the most blessings of strength and re-establishes our bond with the eternal God, comes from the prophet’s words, “Return Israel to God your God.” In Hebrew, the two times God’s name is mentioned refers to a return to two different dimensions and aspects of God. First, God created a natural world where laws of nature, probabilities, and statistics rule. Predictable patterns conceal the awareness of God, the energy and root cause inside of everything.

Secondly, there is God in His full glory who is never limited by anything and, in His full glory, exists in every nook and cranny of existence. He hides beneath the surface yet simultaneously has no limitations whatsoever, permeates all, doing whatever He desires and passing unnoticed, sometimes revealing Himself in the form of miracles — which are then very much noticed.

Teshuvah is the recognition that God is always everywhere, equally present in the natural and the miracle. With this acknowledgment of “I place God before me all the time,” it becomes much easier to take control of our temptations. With this acknowledgment and recognition that we are so totally dependent on God for everything in our lives, we are more apt to regret doing those things that sever our relationship with God and regret those things we should be doing that help deepen our relationship and bond with the Godliness within us, our souls.

God, in His infinite mercy, tells us, “Nothing stands in the way of Teshuvah – repentance”. Sincere remorse.

Our faith that “God is with me and I shall not fear” becomes, once again, our reality as it was when we were little children.

Chapter 115

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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