Dvar Torah - Vayelech
The time leading up to Rosh HaShana is, perhaps, the busiest of the year. The Shule must be cleaned and made white, yom tov meals prepared, and above all, we must be ready to receive upon ourselves the awesome kingship of G-d. This means that we are not only preparing for a day but using the time to work on ourselves most intensely. After Rosh HaShana, it still feels heavy and busy, but differently. Yom Kippur doesn't focus as much on G-d's kingship as Rosh HaShana. Instead, our process of self-improvement takes centre stage. Instead of "King of the entire world," we refocus on "King, forgiving and forgoing, who passes over our guilt every year”. Yom Kippur is the day on which we pray for and hope to achieve atonement.
A key point in this pivot is Shabbat Shuva. On Shabbat, we don't work. We can rest, pray, and spend time on introspection. As such, after Rosh HaShana, Shabbat Shuva and its Haftorah serve as a reminder that we should be slightly changing the direction of our thoughts. As we prepare for Yom Kippur and engage earnestly in self-reflection, let us all allow this Shabbat to wash over us and bathe in its restful, warm glow, so it can play its part in giving us the most meaningful of Yom Kippurs.