It is fascinating to see, that the House of Judah was allowed to come back from their Exile in Babylon. Of course, it could not be taken for granted.
Why? Let’s read:
During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel [the Northern 10 tribes] has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah [the Southern Kingdom of Israel] saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the Lord. The Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah…” (Jer 3, 6-11)
So again: Why was Judah allowed to come back, although the Northern Tribes (here “Israel”) was more righteous (but until today haven’t come back)?
The answer is very important. It lies in teshuva (hebr. “repentance”). It is one characteristic of Judah that they were and are able to do teshuva. Nehemiah chapter 1 and 9 and Daniel chapter 1 are amazing examples.
And you will see another one in the following video. The days in Elul, the 6th month in the Jewish calendar, is a month of teshuva. We are invited to come back and restore our relationships: To our creator and to our fellows.
From next Sunday on we say prayers of teshuva (Selichot) daily: