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The Turn of Return: On Repentance and Redemption

  • Rav Chanoch Waxman
About halfway through Parashat Nitzavim, Moshe informs Bnei Yisrael that they will eventually repent. On the heels of his prediction that God will become so angry with Bnei Yisrael that he will bring upon them “all the curses written in this Torah” (Devarim 29:26), Moshe teaches:
And when all these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you shall take them (ve-hasheivota) upon your hearts among all the nations into which the Lord your God has driven you; (and) you shall return (ve-shavta) to the Lord your God and you shall listen to his voice in accord with all that I command… (30:1-2)
This “return” of Israel to God is met with a complementary move on God’s part. He too “returns”:
And then the Lord your God will return (ve-shav) your captivity and have mercy upon you and return (ve-shav) and gather you from all the nations among whom the Lord your God has scattered you. (30:3)
In response to Israel’s repentance, to their “returning” to God and his commands, God “returns” Bnei Yisrael to their land.
At this point in the segment, in a slight disparity to the “return” of Israel, God’s return is not like that of Israel, a return to the other party in the covenantal relation, or to some prior self or mode of being (30:1-2). Rather, it connotes a concrete, real world action performed upon the stage of history and Bnei Yisrael; God returns them to their land (30:3-5). However, later on in the overall passage (30:1-10), in a second example of the Israel-God “return” parallelism, God “returns” yet again, this time in full parallel to Bnei Yisrael. In a repeat of the literary and conceptual motif of the Israel-God dual return, Moshe informs the people that “when you return (tashuv)” (30:8), God will “again\return to (yashuv) rejoice over you for good as he rejoiced over your fathers” (30:9). Here God returns to his covenantal relationship with Bnei Yisrael and some prior mode of being and behavior. To no great surprise, in the overall passage (30:1-10) describing the dual and complementary “return” of Israel to God and God’s “return” to Israel – factoring in the unusual usage of the root “sh.v” to connote the “taking to heart," or internalization, of the message of history at the outset of the passage (30:1) – the term “shav," normally meaning “turn” or “return,” appears seven times (30:1,2,3,3,8,9,10).
            These preliminary points regarding the segment of the Torah often referred to as Parashat HaTeshuva, the portion of repentance, indicate that the segment is not just about the future repentance of Bnei Yisrael. It is also about the “return” of God to Israel and God’s returning Israel to their land. To put this slightly differently, it is not just about repentance, but also about redemption. As both the contents of the overall passage and the language discussed above indicate, it is about a “return” to some sort of prior state. This last point can be further illustrated by a series of linguistic parallels between our segment of “Repentance and Redemption," our narrative of “the dual return” (30:1-10), and the extended segment of “The Blessings and Curses” found at the close of Parashat Ki Tavo (28:1-69).
            For starters, as quoted above, the opening verse of our “Repentance and Redemption” segment refers to some point in history, “when all these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you” (30:1). Apparently, Moshe predicts that in the course of their history, Bnei Yisrael will be experience both the blessings promised by the Torah and, sadly, to its curses as well. In referring to the “coming upon you” of “blessings” that have been set before Bnei Yisrael, Moshe clearly references the outset of the “Blessings and Curses” segment and its mention of “all the blessings” that will “come upon you” (28:2). Similarly, in referring to the “curses” that “come upon you,” he refers to the “coming upon you of all these curses” found in the same segment (28:15).
Furthermore, in both narratives, the notion of “listening to God’s voice” and “keeping his commands” plays a key role. Before introducing the idea of “blessing," the “Blessing and Curses” narrative presents a conditional statement. It conditions the blessing upon a certain circumstance: “If you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God to do and keep his commands” (28:1). Likewise, as build up to the list of curses, the Torah presents the opposite conditional: “If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord your God to do and keep his commands” (28:15). In parallel, the latter narrative of “Repentance and Redemption" utilizes nearly identical terminology. Israel’s return to God entails “listening to His voice” (30:2), a turn of phrase that appears three times throughout the segment (30:2, 8, 10), and this involves the “doing” and “keeping” of “his commands” (30:8, 10). Moreover, just as in the previous “Blessing and Curses” narrative, where these commands are commanded “this day” by Moshe (28:1, 15), so too, here in the “Repentance and Redemption” narrative Moshe states that the commands are those “I command this day” (30:8).
            In addition to these two points of parallel –“blessing and curses” and “listening to God’s voice\keeping the commands" – the narratives are also united by near identical descriptions of plentitude and prosperity that Bnei Yisrael will receive from God. Towards the end of the “Repentance and Redemption” narrative, the Torah describes the post redemptive state of Bnei Yisrael in their land with the following phrase:
And the Lord your God will grant you abounding prosperity in every work of your hands, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your land, for good…  (30:9)
This constitutes an almost exact replication, albeit with some changes of phrasing and word order, of the “blessed” state of Bnei Yisrael in the “blessings” segment of our other narrative. There too, the Torah speaks of “prosperity” and “good”:
And the Lord your God will grant you abounding prosperity for good, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your land… (28:11)
Finally, in a fourth point of parallel between the two narratives, the Torah structures a complicated linguistic and thematic connection revolving around “divine joy," exile, and return. Towards the end of the segment of “curses” found in the “Blessing and Curses” narrative, Moshe tells the people that just as God had once “rejoiced” (sas) over them to “do good” (le-heitiv) for them and multiply them, He will similarly “rejoice” (yasis) to annihilate, destroy, and exile the people (28:63). He will “scatter” (ve-hefitzcha) the people amongst “all the nations” (kol ha-amim) to the very “edges” (ketzei) of the earth (28:64). In an obvious echo but simultaneous contrast to this complex of terms and concepts, our latter narrative presents a related set of terms and ideas in reverse literary order. First, as part of his “return” to Israel, God will gather the people from amongst “all the nations” (kol ha-amim) in which he has “scattered them” (asher hefitzcha) (30:3). He will gather them even from the very “edges” (ketzei) of the heavens (30:4). Second, upon bringing them to their land, He will “return” to “rejoice” (la-sus) over the people to “do good” (le-tov) for them just as he “rejoiced” (sas) over their forefathers (30:9). To put this slightly differently, in this fourth point of parallel, we face a connection that indicates a theme of reversal. God had previously rejoiced in scattering the people (28:63-64). Now, in another double reference to God’s rejoicing (30:9), God will once again rejoice, but now He will rejoice in “gathering” that which He had “scattered," the opposite of what he had previously rejoiced in.
            All of this should make us realize that our latter narrative of “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-10) stands in a particular relation to our former narrative of “Blessings and Curses” (28:1-69). The former narrative depicts the reversal of a “blessed” state connected to “listening to God’s voice” and keeping His commandments (28:1-2). This original “blessed” state is replaced by a “cursed” state; due to Israel “not listening to God’s voice” and keeping His commands, God rejoices in punishing and scattering them. (28:15, 62-64). In our latter narrative of “Repentance and Return," this reversal is reversed and the original “blessed” state is restored. Israel listens to God’s voice and keeps His commands (30:2, 8, 10). In response, God gathers what He had “scattered” (30:3-4), restores the people’s blessed state (30:5, 9), and rejoices over them as He had rejoiced over their fathers (30:9). In other words, as a “reversal of the reversal” or a “restoration," the latter narrative of “Repentance and Redemption” comprises the “next historical stage” or “completion” of the prior narrative of “Blessings and Curses.”
            This formulation brings us to an important structural point and problem.  Although not emphasized until this point, the two segments we have been discussing are not textually contiguous. While the former makes up the bulk of the latter part of Parashat Ki Tavo, the latter, our segment of “Repentance and Redemption," only appears deep into Parashat Nitzavim. The natural flow from the story of “Blessing and Curses” (28:1-69) to its next historical and conceptual stage, to its completion and reversal found in the restoration story of “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-10), is interrupted by two distinct segments. After completing the narrative of “Blessings and Curses” with a summary verse describing the covenantal importance of the blessings and curses (28:69), the Torah presents a short “historical” segment, in which Moshe discusses the meaning of “seeing” and experiencing the Exodus from Egypt, the desert years, and the beginnings of the conquering of the land (29:1-8). More importantly, following this first short digression, the Torah presents the relatively lengthy digression that makes up the first part of Parashat Nitzavim and the bulk of Chapter 29 (29:9-28) – the difficult to classify story of the imminent contraction of a covenant (29:9-14), the straying of the single individual or family after idol worship (29:15-20), and the eventual exile and complete destruction of the land that seem to result (29:21-27). This flow or “disruption” can be charted as follows:
“Blessings and Curses”
The blessings and curses
“You Have Seen”
Meaning of seeing and experiencing the exodus, desert years etc.
“You Stand this Day”
Imminent contraction of the covenant, warning against idol worship, destruction of the land
“Repentance and Redemption”
The dual return of Israel and God, restoration of blessed state, etc.
We may well wonder as to why these two segments, “You Have Seen” (29:1-8) and “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28), are found in between the narrative of the “Blessings and Curses” (28:1-69) and its historical and logical conclusion in the segment of “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-10).
Alternatively, we may formulate this problem slightly differently. Apparently, the Torah has “pushed off” or “displaced” the narrative of “Repentance and Redemption.” As opposed to placing it immediately after its logical precedent, the story of the “Blessing and Curses” (28:1-69), the Torah places it later, after the narrative of “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28), the opening of Parashat Nitzavim. How are we to explain this apparent displacement? In other words, what constitutes the rationale for the deferring of the segment of “Repentance and Redemption”?
            Taking a closer look at the first part of Parashat Nitzavim (29:9-28), what we have termed the segment of “You Stand this Day” may help to clarify things. As already noted, the narrative seems to run through three distinct stages, from the imminent contraction of a covenant (29:9-14), to the straying of the single individual or family after idol worship (29:15-20), to eventual exile and the complete destruction of the land (29:21-27). While the exact logical relationship of the three sections is at first glance somewhat unclear, the three sections are clearly united by certain key terms and concepts, most crucially those of “covenant” (brit) and “sanctions” (ala). Tracking these terms and the transitions in the narrative should help clarify the connections and relationships between the various segments.
In the opening of the story, Moshe informs the people that they stand this day before God to enter into “his covenant” and “sanction” (29:11). Furthermore, he informs them that God intends this “covenant” and “sanction” to bind not just those who stand before Moshe this day, but also those who do not stand before Moshe, the future generations of Israel. (29:13-14). At this point, the narrative turns, and in part two of his speech, Moshe segues into a general warning against idol worship and a specific mention of the individual, family, or tribe who turns to idol worship (29:15-17). Moshe states that God will not forgive such an individual or group. He will bring upon them “all the sanctions written in this book” (29:19) and mark them for an evil fate in accord “with all the sanctions of the covenant written in this book of Torah” (29:20). At this point, the narrative turns again, and in what might be thought of as a kind of flash forward, Moshe presents a picture of a “later generation," “the nation that comes from a distant land.” When the foreign nation, upon witnessing the horrible destruction visited upon the land asks as to its cause (29:23), the later generation of Bnei Yisrael explains that it is due to the abandoning of the “covenant” and the sin of idol worship (29:24-25). As a result, God became angry and brought upon them “all the curses (ha-klala) written in this book” (29:26).
This division and reading of the story of “You Stand this Day,” as well as its key terminology of “covenant," “sanction” (ala), “this book," “this book of Torah,” and “curses,” can be charted as follows:
Themes \ Function
Key Terminology
Imminent contraction of covenant, trans-generational nature of covenant and sanction
“covenant," “sanction”
Warning against idol worship by specific subgroup, consequences of violation of the covenant and sanction for that group
“sanction,” “written in this book," “sanctions of the covenant," “written in this book of Torah
29:18, 19, 20
Historical “flash forward," dialogue of “foreign nation” and future generation
“covenant," “curses written in this book”
29:24, 26
What emerges from all of this is that on a literary plane, the segment of “You Stand this Day," the opening of Parashat Nitzavim (29:9-28), is united by its various connections and relation to the prior “Blessings and Curses” segment (28:1-69). As mentioned earlier, the “Blessings and Curses” narrative closes with a summary verse emphasizing the covenantal importance of the blessings and curses. The actual text of this verse reads as follows:
These are the words of the covenant that God commanded Moshe to make with Bnei Yisrael in the land of Moav, besides the covenant which He made with them at Chorev. (28:69)
The phrase “these are the words” in this verse refers to the previous sixty-eight verses, the entire corpus of the “Blessings and Curses” narrative. The covenant made at Moav is contracted on a set of conditions, with clear consequences and sanctions for keeping or not keeping the covenant, blessing in the case of listening to God’s voice and keeping His commands and even more crucially, curses in the case of not listening and not keeping His commands. The conditions of the covenant, the contract between God and Israel, are written down, recorded in the Torah in our extensive “Blessing and Curses” section (29:1-68). It emerges that the segment of “You Stand this Day” and its key terminologies of “covenant” (29:11, 20, 24), “sanctions" or its alternative term “curse” (29:13, 18, 19, 20, 26), and “written in this book\Torah” (29:19, 20, 26) consistently refer back to the  “Blessings and Curses” segment and its role as the “record” of the conditions of the covenant.
            On the dramatic plane, this seems to mean something like the following. In Part One of the “You Stand this Day” narrative, as part of the build up to the actual contracting of the covenant, a ceremony not actually recorded in the Torah, Moshe addresses the people and informs them that they are about to enter into the covenant and its consequences (29:9-14). In Part Two of the narrative, as part of his sincere desire that the people keep the covenant and not bring upon themselves the awful consequences of the sanctions\curses that result from violating the covenant and engaging in idol worship, Moshe warns against the individual or family who is enticed by idol worship and feel undeterred by the sanctions\curses that have been written down (29:14-20). Finally, in Part Three of his speech, as a further expansion of his warning against violating the covenant and depiction of the consequences of violation, Moshe presents a “flash forward.” He tells the story of the “nation from a distant land," “a later generation,” and the dialogue between them regarding the awful sanctions\curses written down in the Torah and visited upon the people and land (29:21-28). 
            This should make us realize that the narrative of “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28) constitutes an integral part of the larger story of the “Contracting of the Covenant” found near the end of Sefer Devarim. Without committing as to where this larger segment of Sefer Devarim begins, it certainly includes the segment of “Blessings and Curses” (28:1-69) and certainly does not conclude until after the segment of “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28). As such, we should no longer need to wonder about the problem raised above, the placement of the section of “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-10). Although it constitutes the “reversal of the reversal," “the restoration," and the logical conclusion of the “Blessing and Curses” story, it is not really part of the actual story of the contracting of the covenant and its consequences. As such, it appears only after the segment of “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28).
            This point about narrative continuity between the segments of “Blessings and Curses” (28:1-69) and “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28) and the consequent deferral of “Repentance and Redemption (30:1-10) until a later point in the narrative possesses a literary and logical flip side. As noted previously, the segment of “You Stand this Day” ends with a “flash forward.” Moshe tells the story of future events, the meeting of “nation that comes from a foreign land” and the “later generation” of Bnei Yisrael, and their witnessing and explanation of the destruction visited upon the land and people (29:20-28). As such, the story of “You Stand this Day” spans the breadth of time. While it begins with “this day” (ha-yom) (29:9), the here and now of contracting the covenant at Moav, it ends with a different “this day” (kayom ha-zeh) (29:26), the future day in which the “later generation” of Israel witnesses and explains the tragedies of their history. In switching scene to the future history of Israel, the end of the segment sets the stage for a continued discussion of the future history of Israel. Just as the “flash forward” that closes out the narrative of “You Stand this Day” happens in the future, so too the story of “Repentance and Redemption” happens in the future. As its opening verse states: “And when all these things have come upon you the blessing and the curses…” (30:1).
Based upon this parallel of historical setting, there exists a natural continuity between the tail end of “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28), the “flash forward” that comprises Part Three of the story (29:20-28), and the following future story of “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-10). Once again, we no longer need to wonder about the placement of “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-10) after “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28).
            Thinking thematically may help us further deepen this last point regarding natural continuity between the last section of “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28) and the opening of “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-10). As outlined earlier, the story of “Repentance and Redemption” is about the “dual return” of Israel to God and God to Israel. Israel “returns” to God and “listens to His voice;" they keep the commands Moshe has taught them. (30:2). In exchange, in the first stage of the story, God “returns” them to their land (30:3-5). In other words, the opening of the narrative of “Repentance and Redemption” posits not just a future setting, but a setting in which Bnei Yisrael have sinned and been exiled from their land. Only in this context of sin and exile does repentance by Israel and redemption by God constitute the next step, a kind of logical necessity according to the theology of the Torah. As such, the picture of the latter part of “You Stand this Day," the “flash forward” conversation between “the later generation” and “the nation from a distant land,” serves as necessary background for the story of “Repentance and Redemption.” By referring to “the plagues of the land," “the sickness of the land," the Sodom like desolation of the land (29:21-22), God’s anger (29:22, 23, 26, 27), the punishment of exile (29:27) and the root causes of covenant abandonment and idol worship (29:24-25), the “flash forward” segment (29:21-28) sets the logical stage for “Repentance and Redemption” story. As argued, we need not wonder about the placement of “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-10) after “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28).
Finally, we can view the connection between the “flash forward," the latter part of “You Stand this Day” (29:21-28), and “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-10) from yet another angle – not that of “continuity in time” or “logical progression” but through the prism of “intertextuality," the way in which texts of the Torah inform and explain each other. This requires some explanation.
As cited earlier, the narrative of “You Stand this Day” opens with the following passage:
And when all these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you and you shall take\place them (ve-hasheivota) upon your hearts… (and) you shall return (ve-shavta) to the Lord your God…  (30:1-2)
As noted above, in describing the “internalization” or “understanding” by Bnei Yisrael of “all these things,” “the coming upon them” of the “blessings and “curses," the Torah utilizes the unusual phrase “ve-hasheivota el levavecha," translated here as “you shall take\place them upon your hearts.” In doing so, the Torah uses a pun and foreshadows the key term of the entire “dual return” passage, the stem “sh.v," normally meaning “return.” Yet there is more to this than just literary artistry, a striking use of language, or the generation of the appearance of the key term “sh.v” seven times in the overall passage (30:1,2,3,3,8,9,10). Rather, in utilizing the “sh.v” term to connote the internalization and understanding by Bnei Yisrael of everything that has come upon them, the narrative structures and highlights a literary and logical connection between the two processes outlined in these two verses. There exists some connection between the first process, that of “ve-hasheivota," the internalization by Bnei Yisrael of all that has come upon them, and the second process, that of “ve-shavta," repentance and return to God.
            But what does this process of “ve-hasheivota," the internalization or understanding in their hearts by Bnei Yisrael of all that has “come upon” them, involve? What does this perception of the meaning of their history look like? We may argue that this is some sort of internal process, something involving the hearts of Bnei Yisrael, and as such we can have no reasonable expectation for a further elaboration or depiction by the Torah of this process. Alternatively, we may suggest that the prior passage in the Torah, the “flash forward” (29:21-28), serves as such a depiction. Grasping this point requires taking a closer look at the latter part of our “flash forward” segment.
In response to the query of “all the nations” as to the cause of God’s anger and the horrible destruction upon the land, the Torah states:
And they shall say, “Because they forsook the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of Egypt, for they went and served other gods… and the anger of the Lord burned against this land, to bring upon it all the curses written in this book, and the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day. The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things revealed belong to us and our Children forever, that we may do all the words of this Torah. (29:24-28)
Two crucial ambiguities regarding subject and voice are readily apparent in this passage. First and foremost, while it is explicitly stated in the verse preceding this passage that it is “all the nations” that ask regarding the cause of the destruction of the land and God’s anger (29:23), it is not readily apparent who constitutes the respondent, whom it is who delivers the answer of “Because they…” (29:24-27), the story of Bnei Yisrael’s history. Is this the continuation of the speech of “all the nations,” or is there some other party present who now speaks? Or is this just the objective voice of the narrator speaking in the voice of some anonymous group of everymen? In other words, the subject of this speech is ambiguous.
            A second and similar ambiguity occurs near the end of the passage. In the last sentence, the strange and opaque reference to “secret” or “hidden” things as opposed to “revealed things” culminates with a reference to the revealed things belonging “to us” and to “our children forever,"  “to do all the words of this Torah” (29:28). Once again, the relationship to the immediately preceding sentence as well as the subject, the speaker of the sentence, seems unclear. Is this a continuation of the preceding speech? Is the same party still speaking? Or should this last verse be viewed as a separate entity, as a switch to the voice of Moshe, an interjection of an educational and legal message?
            While there are numerous possible responses to this double problem of ambiguity, throughout the earlier discussion of this passage, I have implicitly assumed the position adopted by Abarbanel and Netziv (Devarim 29:28). On their view, the entire “flash forward” segment (29:21-28) constitutes a dialogue between some interlocutor, some other nation, and “a later generation” of Bnei Yisrael (29:21). On this reading, it is the later generation of Bnei Yisrael who respond and explain the causes of history, the cause of the divine anger, the cause of the destruction visited upon the land, and the cause of the exile (29:24-27). On this reading, it is that very same “later generation” who then states that “revealed matters," as well as the requirement to “do all the words of this Torah" – that is, the responsibility to carry out all the commands of the Torah – belong to that “later generation” of Bnei Yisrael and their own future descendants. It remains ambiguous as to what exactly constitutes the “revealed matters" – perhaps the “revealed” and obvious causes of historical events predicted by Sefer Devarim, or maybe, once again, the commands and obligations of the Torah. Either way, the responsibility for both the past and future belongs to Bnei Yisrael, the prior generations of Bnei Yisrael, the “later generation” of Bnei Yisrael present at the time of the “flash forward," and their own future descendants, the future generation of Bnei Yisrael.
            To take this a bit further, we may rephrase this in the following fashion. The “later generation” of Bnei Yisrael should be viewed as a representation of the trans-generational entity, the nation of Israel that spans and unites generations past, present, and future. At a certain point in future history, this “later generation” looks back and takes responsibility for the violation of the covenant. In explaining the divine anger and destruction to the other nation to its partner in dialogue, Israel effectively admits that Israel is the cause of the divine anger and destruction. Israel takes responsibility for the past. At the same time, by continuing on to speak of “doing all the words of the Torah” in the future, Israel commits to a different and better future, to keeping the covenant. To put this a bit differently, in the classic language of Jewish thought and law, Israel moves through all the stages of repentance, i.e. return to God. Israel engages in regret regarding the past, confession in the present, and commitment for a different future.
            To close the circle, our analysis should indicate the we can read the “flash forward” segment (29:21-28) as more than just a crucial part of Moshe’s warnings against covenant violation, a move to the setting of “the future” or a depiction of the historical conditions of destruction and exile that necessitate repentance and return. It is also the story of “the penitent generation," the generation of Israel that takes responsibility for both its past and future.
This in turn leads to a new “intertextual” understanding of the relationship between “You Stand this Day” (29:9-28) and “Repentance and Redemption” (30:1-30). While the segment of “Repentance and Redemption” opens with the condition of “taking\placing upon your heart," this first step in the “dual return” of Israel and God that comprises the story of “Repentance and Redemption," this “ve-hasheivota” (30:1) seems opaque. In fact, however, this is not the case. In providing a picture of “the penitent generation” and their process of responsibility and regret for the past on the one hand and commitment for the future on the other, the previous segment, the “flash forward” (29:20-28), provides a frame of reference and a ready interpretation as to what “taking\placing upon your heart” consists of . It involves the process and events depicted in the previous part of the Torah. In other words, the tail end of the story of “You Stand this Day” informs our reading of the latter segment of “Repentance and Redemption.” It provides the keys to unlocking what “taking\placing” upon your heart," or maybe even in a certain metaphorical sense what “returning to” one’s heart is all about. It is about the picture of the “penitent generation” just painted; it is about taking responsibility for the past and committing for the future.  
Further Study
1) Review 29:28. Now see the comments of Rashi, Ramban, and Abarbanel. Try to formulate the opinions of Rashi and Ramban regarding the speaker of this verse and function in the overall narrative of 29:9-28. Contrast these opinions with the position of Abarbanel followed in the shiur above.
2) Read 29:1-8. Now consider the shiur above and its central issue of the ordering and relation of the parashiyot of 28:1-69, 29:9-28 and 30:1-10. Formulate the obvious problem posed by 29:1-8. Now see the comments of Ibn Ezra and Ramban to 29:1. See 29:8 and reformulate their fundamental idea in the terminology in accord with one of the theses in the shiur above.
3) See 30:6. Consider the function of this verse in the larger corpus of 30:1-10 and the repetition of the term “heart”. Now read 29:9-28, paying special attention to 29:18. Based upon this, try to formulate an additional connection between the segments of “You Stand this Day” and “Repentance and Redemption” not discussed in the shiur above. Now see 29:1-8, paying special attention to 29:3. Try to formulate a new theory that explains the ordering of 29:1-8, 29:9-28 and 30:1-10.
4) Read 30:1-10. a) Now reread 30:1-2 and 30:10. Explain how this serves as a “frame” for the entire passage. b) Reread 30:8-9. Is there anything new here? c) Try to work out a structure for 30:1-10 viewing 30:3-7 as one subunit that accounts for the parallels between 30:1-2 and 30:10 as well as the problem of repetition created by 30:8-9. Note how this places the weight of things on divine action\redemption in place of human action\repentance. d) Try to work out an alternative structure for 30:1-10 assuming that it comprises two equal halves with a turn at 30:6. In light of this division, try to note differences in the location and quality of the repentance of 30:1-5 and 30:6-10.