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August 31, 2015 / 16 Elul, 5775
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Be Happy, Now!

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With t’shuva, the means become as vital as the goal. T’shuva penetrates all of the details of life and uplifts them to God. Everything is seen as important and necessary in the refinement and perfection of the existence. T’shuva enters every sphere of life, illuminating all things with the light of the future ideal, giving inspiration to all of man’s work.

Rabbi Kook writes that the inner foundation of life is built upon t’shuva. Material existence, he explains, is based on a step-by-step descent from Divine spiritual spheres to the worldly. Thus there is a Divine spark in everything. This spark is like the DNA of existence. When a person is involved in any detailed spark of existence, it is as if he were involved with the entire world itself:

When we understand to what extent the tiniest details of life, the spiritual and the physical, contain, in microcosm, all of the general laws, and that every small detail has shadows of greatness in the depths of its essence, we will no longer wonder at the secret of t’shuva which penetrates man’s spirit so deeply, from the beginnings of his thoughts and beliefs, to the smallest details of his character and deeds (Ibid, 11:4).

When we understand that every fragment is a microcosm of the whole, and that each and every person is like a world in miniature, than how truly powerful is man! How influential is his each and every deed! For example, if a person stops speaking badly about other people, he not only improves himself, he improves his community. Because, he is connected to all of the cosmos, he improves all the universe. The smallest detail of t’shuva heals man and all of existence with it! His cries for salvation echo through every realm of existence and reach the Divine throne itself. “Out of the depths, I have called to You, O Lord” (Tehillim, 130:1). Man’s every gesture of t’shuva is filled with meaning, connecting the lowest regions to the most exalted heights, the smallest details to the grandest schemes. He is the sun around which all of life orbits. His thoughts, speech, and action literally influence what will be in the world.

Now that you know that, what are you waiting for? It’s just 6 more days to Rosh HaShanah!

(Based on the popular book, “The Art of T’shuva,” by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman, Chapter 10.)

About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon.

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Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
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