Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Duties of the Heart

Gate Seven: "The Gate of Teshuva"
Ch. 5 (Part 1)

There are four major components to teshuva, as we'd said, and each one encompasses a slew of unique detailed thoughts, realizations, and frankhearted reactions. As we mentioned last time, the four include regretting your sin, stopping it, admitting to it and asking to be forgiven for it, and taking it upon yourself never to commit it again. So let's now delve into each in more depth and lay out some of its features.

Understand that *some* of the reactions depicted here might catch us off guard and, frankly, set us off. We might consider them too extreme; life- negating at worst, or of another time and place at best; too doleful and dreary, and even self-destructive.

But realize that we too react passionately and drastically toward the things we care about most. Who among us would dare blame a parent who'd lost a child (G-d forbid) for rending his or her clothes, staring silently and morosely into the distance and weeping, calling out the child's name, and the like? Would anyone dare censure so "extreme" a reaction to a loss so terrible and undoing?

As such, if you're passionate about your relationship to G-d Almighty and want to never threaten it, then you too would react rather strongly if it were threatened by something you did; and you too would be touched to the core by the stunning realization of how wrong you'd been. So, taken in that light, these reactions aren't "radical" so much as deeply heartfelt and "understandable under the circumstances", as some would put it.

And so, you can only be said to truly regret your sin *wholeheartedly and from within* (which is inherent to the process, after all) after you begin to sense just how wrong you'd been to sin, and how much harm you'd done to yourself and to your relationship to G-d when you'd sinned.

You'd then likely become dispirited and weighed down and you'd want to acquiesce to G-d's will again as you'd done before; you'd change your ways and thus might decide to dress and dine more simply and with less elan; your demeanor would likely be more sober; you'd probably cry about and lament what you did and chide yourself for it; and you'd certainly think about the consequences of what you'd done again and again.

Not only would you then stop committing that sin right there and then (the second component), but you'd also stop committing all the other sins you're prone to. You're also likely to be cautious about things that are perfectly permissible on their own but which might lead to sins. (If you were in the habit of bragging about your accomplishments whenever you sat with your coworkers during long breaks, for example, you might declare that you don't want to talk about work during breaks -- which is certainly innocent unto itself -- in order not to avoid bragging. In fact, it oftentimes come down to simple things like that!)

You'd want to take pains to be especially careful not to lapse into sins that you're still perfectly capable of committing and would still like to (rather than sins you're too old for by now, for example, or others that are out-of-reach), despite the real difficulties. And why? Because it would occur to you that G-d wants you to, and you'd be too embarrassed by that point to not try.


Text Copyright 2004 by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

That Ancient Memory
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

To Begin--to Cook from Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Don't Take Advantage of People's Compassion
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Relentless
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

All Israel!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Rosh Hashana and the Kiss of Life
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Reward for Shiluach haKen Is the Inverse of the Reward For Kibud Av v'Em
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Wayward Son
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Mankind's Song
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

ArtScroll

The Wayward Son - What Can He Teach Us?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5758

Chase Away the Mother
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Parshas Ki Seitzei
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5771

> It's Never Too Late
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

Be a New Person
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

The Bond that Ties - Prayer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Nerve Centre of the Year
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information