web analytics
August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



The T’shuva Train

Train

The Talmud teaches that in the End of Days, God is going to do away with man’s evil inclination (Sukkah 52A). Seeing this, both the righteous and evildoers react by weeping. The righteous cry when the evil inclination is shown to be as large as a mountain. The knowledge that they had to spend their lives overcoming such a formidable foe brings them to tears. The wicked cry when it is revealed to them that the evil inclination was in reality an insignificant opponent. It could have been conquered by a split-second of t’shuva, but that opportunity is now forever lost. We learn from this that the seeming darkness of sin can be swiftly erased by the great light and wonder of t’shuva.

Here are some examples of sudden t’shuva. A person one day decides, “That’s it. I am going on a diet starting today. I want to be healthy.” He strides into the kitchen and throws out all of the candies, ice creams, sodas, and chocolates. Cans of food loaded with colorings and chemical preservatives go flying into the trash. He joins a health club, moves to a place where the air is clean, and starts each new day with a jog before dawn.

Or the baal t’shuva suddenly decides that he is fed up with the wheeling and dealing; he is weary with the struggle to get around the law; he is ashamed for the income he has failed to report; he is disgusted with his infidelities and lies. “That’s it,” he declares. “No more. From now on, I am going to be an honest, moral person.”

Alternately, a brilliant, sudden flash of t’shuva can leave a person disgusted with the false patterns of behavior, ideologies, and false religions which he is following. As if awakening from a nightmare, he takes a deep breath, suddenly driven to align his life with the Divine truth of existence. His flash of sudden light inspires him to say, “Wow, have I been wasting my life! What a fool I have been! And I thought I was being smart! That’s it. The past is forgotten. From now on, I am getting my life together with Torah!”

In contrast, gradual t’shuva differs from sudden t’shuva in its less dramatic, more step-by-step form. Often, when we speak about baale t’shuva, we are referring to people whose lives have been changed overnight. Gradual t’shuva, on the other hand, is something which often appears in a person who generally lives his life in a healthy, positive fashion. When he falls into error or sin, his recovery is more gradual, without the overwhelming illumination that comes to a person whose life has been saturated by darkness. Rabbi Kook writes:

“There is also a gradual type of t’shuva. The change from the depths of sin to goodness is not inspired by a brilliant flash of light in one’s inner self, but by the feeling that one’s ways and lifestyle, one’s desires, and thought processes must be improved. When a person follows this path, he gradually straightens his ways, mends his character traits, improves his deeds, and teaches himself how to correct his life more and more, until he reaches the high level of refinement and perfection” (Orot HaT’shuva, Ch.2).

An already moral person who feels he is still far away from the goal he longs to reach, will set off on a gradual climb toward t’shuva. For him, the process of return does not revolutionize his life all at once. Rather, his perfection demands a step-by-step course of improvement. Indeed, for the average person, the best way to climb a great mountain is by taking a lot of little steps.

When this type of person goes on a diet, he does not rush into the kitchen and throw out all of the unhealthy foods all at once. Knowing that it will take time and a great deal of willpower to wean himself away from the sweets that he loves, he resolves to be fat-free within another six months. Every day, he tries to eat one donut less. He sits down and draws up a chart, starting with one push-up and working, day-by-day, to fifty. He does not suddenly revamp his whole life. Rather, he changes it a little at a time. In this manner, he can set his life on a healthier course without dramatically altering his current comforts and habits.

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." For the past several years, he has written a popular and controversial blog at Arutz 7. A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views 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 “The T’shuva Train”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tzvi Fishman, author of the Jewish Press blog Felafel on Rye and author of more than a dozen books.
Current Top Story
ISIS in Quneitra
Updates from Kuneitra, Syria [video]
Latest Blogs Stories
The Palestinian Authority backed by EU funds, has sent Bedouin into the E-1 area of Maaleh Adumim to claim it is part of their fictional history.

The new “Begin Plan” is an impending nightmare, it rewards the Bedouins for brazen land-grabbing.

its a deal

There is absolutely nothing for Israel’s security in this American document.

A Jewish wedding.

Is it because of corrupt values and lack of meeting opportunities that we have a shidduch crisis?

Islamic Law

Israel is fighting the war that none of the Western world has the ability or courage to fight.

Finish the job! Sayyem et a missima!סיים את המסימה!

Life after 50? You better believe it! Tips on how to prepare and enjoy life after retirement.

All civilian responsibilities will be given over to an Arab government. Education, health, a judicial system and taxes will be the responsibility of the Arab government. Any terrorist activity against the Arab government or Israel will be dealt with in the most severe manner. This situation will continue for 3 years. During that time, Israel will help build an infrastructure for […]

Hamas targeted the Erez Crossing when it knew that Gazans and Israeli Arabs would be there, out in the open…

Does it really take Jewish innovation to come up with this idea?

If you don’t know who’s behind The terror in your mind The answer’s not hard to find, Blame the Jews

If feminism is mentioned at all, it is usually to condemn it as an anti Torah ideal.

“…people making jokes about turning this into a shelter rave, taking #bombshelterselfies…”

Marriage is not just about emotional fidelity but about financial fidelity as well.

So you want to blame Israel? First answer these 5 simple questions, and see if you even have a leg to stand on…

Hamas’s online Jihadi supporters and groupies are desperately trying to differentiate between their support for Hamas and supporting ISIS.

We all got degrees. We got married. We had families. We worked. We and were Koveih Itim

More Articles from Tzvi Fishman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/the-tshuva-train/2012/08/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: