Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

The Gates of Repentance

Tenth Principle of Teshuva: CORRECTING YOUR ACTIONS THROUGH THE AGENT USED TO SIN

There's a phenomenon known as "the ugly duckling" syndrome. A young girl, for example, might be scrawny and short, she might have ears far too large for her face, and her glasses might be a little too thick and awkward. And she might be poked fun of throughout her school years.

Then, seemingly "out of the blue", she starts to blossom. She fills out and grows, takes more care of herself, invests in contact lenses, and becomes a raving beauty.

Such a scenario often ends with an old friend running into the now lovely young woman and being thunderstruck. For *the very same features* that had made the young woman such an "ugly duckling" proved to be her best points.

The same phenomenon happens on a spiritual level, as well. Someone known, for example, for being heartless perhaps, or cynical and aloof might take it upon himself to better himself. And so with the help of others and a lot of introspection and determination, this individual comes to be warm, accepting, and loving, and thus do a complete turnaround, measure for measure, point for point.

That's what Rabbeinu Yonah is referring to here, where he cites comments by our sages to the effect that, "The righteous become pleasing through the very thing they sinned with" (Shemot Rabbah 23:3), and "If you committed bunches of sins, then fulfill bunches and bunches of corresponding mitzvot" (Vayikrah Rabbah 21:4).

The point is we'd do well to "turn over a new leaf" *of the same book* we'd soiled if we're ever to achieve true spiritual excellence. Which is to say that the very area in which we'd been wrongful should be the one in which we shine.

Rabbeinu Yonah offers the follow examples. If you tend to boldly glare at the opposite sex in untoward ways, for example, you'd do well to learn to humbly and modestly avert your glance. If you tend to spend the better part of your time speaking ill of others, you'd be far better off speaking to others about the Torah concepts you'd been struck by. If you're known to lie and accept things at face value, then be honest instead, delve into wisdom and be kindly from the depths of your being. And if you're aggressive and too bold, try as much as you can to be peaceable and acquiescent.

At bottom, again, the process comes to no longer settling for personal mediocrity or worse, but striving for personal and spiritual excellence instead. By "catching yourself in the mirror", noticing where this is wrong, or that's off, and bettering yourself in just those areas. To the point where they become your strong points rather than your faults.

Subscribe to Spiritual Excellence and receive the class via e-mail.


 

ARTICLES ON KI SAVO AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Beware of Extra Baggage
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

The Root Of Unhappiness
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

The Ball is in Our Court
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

ArtScroll

The Basket Too Has Holiness
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

A Matter of Attitudes and Altitudes
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Knock, Knock!
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Returning Home to Our Land
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

The Mystery
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Shofar - Past and Present
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

> Teshuva and Rebi Elazar ben Dordai
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

You Gotta Believe (in Yourself)!
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Diving Deep
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Effects of Our Enemies
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5755

We Will Survive
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Parshat Ki Tavo
Shlomo Katz - 5764

A Time to Remember and Be Inspired
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757



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