On Rosh Hashanah, we focus on both the creation of the world and teshuvah. But what is the connection between these two disparate ideas? What does the creation of the world have to do with repentance?
Teshuvah is not just about slapping one’s self on the chest and saying sorry. It’s about creating a new self-identity and leaving behind the former you. It means becoming a new person. This explains why the RAMBAM writes that it is the custom of people who do teshuvah to take on a new name.
According to Rav Yosef Soloveitchik, in his monumental work Eash HaHalacha, the source for the mitzvah of teshuvah is Hashem’s creation of the world: Just like Hashem created the world and gave order to chaos, so too we have an obligation to emulate our creator by creating ourselves, which in truth, our miniature worlds too. Our question has found its answer. On Rosh Hashanah it is not a coincidence that we focus on both the creation of the world and teshuvah, for in truth, the creation of the world revealed the mitzvah of teshuvah.