web analytics
August 28, 2015 / 13 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Goodbye World, I’m Off to the Mountains!

Rabbi Kook’s advice is to set out correcting the transgressions of the past which are within the person’s reach to correct. This will set into motion a snowball of t’shuva whose inner force will lead him to correct matters more and more difficult, until he succeeds in redressing all wrongs.
The Mountains

Precisely because t’shuva is the most exciting sensation in the world, a person must be careful to control the great powers it unleashes. The turned-on t’shuva “junkie” who wakes up in the morning looking to shoot holiness into his veins is faced with a problem. He wants too much, too fast. If in his frustration, he blames his body and its lusts, he can start to wage war on himself. He tries to uproot all of his feelings and passions, including healthy drives like eating and sleeping. But the body resists. It still wants to eat, to sleep, to have normal, marital relations. As long as a person continues to breathe, the monster called the body will not go away.

When this aggressive strategy fails, the person can fall into despair. His longing to fly straight up to heaven has been thwarted. Instead of feeling rejected, however, he should realize that the body and soul need to rise up the spiritual ladder together. Patience is needed. With all of his spiritual and physical baggage, he sets out on the trip. Little by little, he will prod the beast, poke here and there, steering it, training it, making it obey his commands.

A person comes to learn that as materialistic as one’s body can be, it also has rights. Just as it is forbidden to hurt another person, it is forbidden to hurt oneself. Just as one has to be kind to others, one has to be kind to oneself. A baal t’shuva who accepts upon himself extra stringencies has to take counsel with himself to know when the border has been crossed.

For instance, a person may feel that fasting can help him weaken his material lusts. Not wanting to exhaust himself completely, he may decide that instead of fasting a whole day, it is healthier to fast during the day, but to eat at night. In this manner, a person may learn to rule over his lusts without draining his body and willpower completely. If this regimen also proves too punishing, then the person must have compassion on himself and try to find another strategy to cleanse himself of his lusts.

The main thing is not to despair. As long as a person’s will remains firm, God will help him on his way. He must come to recognize that the ultimate solution to his problems does not rest with himself, for a person by himself cannot correct all of his failings. He has to know that in the end, the charity of God, His mercy and lofty salvation will rescue him from his darkness. God will answer his yearnings and bring him to the higher deliverance for which he so longs.

Rabbi Kook adds one final point which is important to stress. Many people reject the idea of t’shuva because they believe that they will have to give up their personalities, talents, and uniqueness in order to conform to a rigid religious standard. Rabbi Kook says that just the opposite is needed. The baal t’shuva must follow his own special path, not someone else’s. Without fear, he must expand his unique intellectual and imaginative talents in the freedom of his soul, in line with his own individuality. T’shuva does not restrict life — it enhances it.

The musician need not give up his music; the writer need not abandon his pen; the singer need not refrain from singing; the businessman need not give up his business. The opposite is true. The baal t’shuva must use his talents, without hesitation or fear, in serving God, in declaring His praises, in bringing the joy and knowledge of God to the world. Then his t’shuva will be complete. Not only in mending his deeds and improving his ways, but by sanctifying his unique individuality and talents to God, he helps bring the whole world to completion.

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.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Goodbye World, I’m Off to the Mountains!”

Comments are closed.

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
Current Top Story
Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, formerly from New York.
One-Third of Americans in Israel Live in Judea and Samaria
Latest Blogs Stories
haredim-no-women-allowed-sign

The Halacha of shmirat einayim (guarding one’s eyes) is incumbent on the MAN; it’s his obligation

Doug Goldstein

Dem. presidential candidate Doug Shreffler talks about his campaign & its motto “as good as it gets”

Jewish Press Blogger, Jordana Brown

I’ve decided to move away from my safety net-and I wouldn’t change that decision for anything.

Was “Jerusalem” the song Matisyahu planned to perform? It was the PERFECT response to BDS campaign

If the world’s winds of hatred bring Jews to Israel we are ready, joyfully offering them a home here

At what age should the realization start setting in for kids that we live in an uncertain society?

Spain’s SeaWorld canceled Zionist-spy dolphin’s performance unless it supports a Palestinian state

How does the Iranian deal affect anti-terrorist legislation adopted by a number of US states?

Shabbat afternoon soccer games, a tradition in Israel’s league, may become a thing of the past.

Calling the Jewish Press‘closest thing to a frum English-language weekly’ insults the publication

So long as Jews dance for the sheer pleasure of thanking God, Israel will never be defeated!

Why are wealthy people less likely to gossip? So if you get rich you’ll cut down on Lashon Hora!

Matisyahu was bounced from a music festival because he wouldn’t sign pro-BDS, anti-Israel manifesto.

Danon is still young, perhaps one day he’ll succeed Bibi. Representing Israel in UN is good training

I think it has been a major tactical mistake for Israel to consider Iran a particularly Israeli problem. And it is of crucial importance for Israel and Israelis to stop thinking that we have any influence on international leaders when it comes to anything, including international policy re: Iran. That’s why I think that Yair […]

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman
Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

011-OT-Maps-Israel-Tribes

One must view the settlement of Israel in a positive light. Thinking otherwise is a grievous sin.

Detention Camps for US Jews? Sounds farfetched but it did to Japanese-Americans during WW II as well

Torah wasn’t given to be kept in Sinai; Brooklyn or Beverly Hills-It was meant to be kept in Israel!

Rebbe Nachman’s stories awaken the sleeping; our film of his stories has the power to wake the world

Going to Mt of Olives cemetery was like visiting Jurassic Park in a jeep with dinosaurs rampaging

To boost aliya, Israel will encourage Marshall’s, Costco, K Mart & Entenmann’s Bakeries to open here

Of course there’s air in America, but it isn’t the holy air of Eretz Yisrael.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/goodbye-world-im-off-to-the-mountains/2012/09/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: