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Section:  Avodah   Category: Shmoneh Esrei
Part 7 Shmoneh Esrei Hashiveinu: Now You See Him, Now You Don't

When saying the bracha 'hashivenu', one should daven intensely that Hashem should illuminate his eyes to teshuva. Because 'Afar' (earth, i.e. our physicality) cannot rule over the yetzer hara without the help of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. And all the more so a 'baal teshuva' who already sank and fell in his hand and became a captive of him. But HaKadosh Baruch Hu 'redeems the captive' and one should daven about himself and on all of Yisroel, that Hashem should give them a pure heart and renew in him a 'proper spirit' (ruach nachon). Because He opens the gate for those who knock in teshuva.

The way of the 'baalei teshuva' is that when they begin to regret their ways, HaKadosh Baruch Hu endows them a very pure spirit to return them in teshuva. And afterwards, so to speak, to test them, HaKadosh Baruch Hu hides Himself, and pulls His outstretched hand behind Him. (therefore many mended their ways and then later returned to their folly. But the complete baal teshuva needs to calculate and chase after Hashem with all his heart without veering under any circumstances - even if afterwardafterward troubles befall him.) Therefore one should daven during this bracha that HaKadosh Baruch Hu should stretch to him His right hand to receive him in teshuva. This is the golden scepter which the King should stretch out to him that he should live. And even if HaKadosh Baruch Hu pulls His hand behind Him as above, one should maintain his resolve to do teshuva. And on this should be one's intent, and not only for himself, but for all Yisroel.

This is a short, practical version of Ya'aros Devash 1:1 which Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe zt"l condensed in Alei Shur pg.123. The original contains all kinds of fascinating mystical insights. The interested reader is referred to Ya'aros Devash 1:1, starting about half-way through.