I haven't had time to write much lately, but wanted to say gmar chasima tovah to all and thank everyone who takes the time to read, comment, email. Our biggest tefilah on Yom Kippur should be that Hashem should give all of us strength to continue learning Torah and growing in avodah.
"Va'yar Moshe es ha'am ki par'ua hu..." (Shmos 25:32) Rambam explains that as a result of cheit ha'eigel the people were torn apart -- some thought making an eigel was a good idea; others thought just the opposite; everyone was going in a different direction.
The tikun of cheit ha'eigel -- the achievement of forgiveness -- occurred on Yom Kippur. On that day the shattering of Am Yisrael into splinter groups was repaired. We became one people again and regained that lost unity and common direction.
"Shuva Yisrael ad Hashem Elokecha" -- lashon yachid, in the singular, not Elokeichem, the plural. The path to teshuvah starts with our becoming one united people.
(Another possible pshat is that teshuvah is not accomplished by thinking about what the Klal can/should do -- it starts with each individual asking what he/she can do about his/her own behavior. As the Brisker Rav points out, when Yonah was sitting on a boat filled with people who were actual avodah zarah and a storm arose, he stood up and said, "Throw me into the sea -- it's my fault." He didn't point the finger at anyone but himself.)
Sefas Emes explains that this is why there is a special mitzvah of ritzuy on erev Yom Kippur. Ritzuy is not appeasement or saying, "I'm sorry." Ritzuy, says Sefas Emes, is from the word ratzon. We have to want to be with all our fellow Jews, we have to want good things for them. (I'm only half joking if I say that this idea is probably a more difficult mitzvah than all 5 inuyim combined.)
Wishing all a year of shalom and achdus and kaparah and geulah.