web analytics
August 29, 2015 / 14 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


T’Shuva and Finding Happiness


Happiness can be hard to find. This man found it through aliyah -- moving to Israel.

Happiness can be hard to find. This man found it through aliyah -- moving to Israel.
Photo Credit: Moshe Shai / Flash 90

Thus, when Joe Cohen walks gloomily into a bookstore looking for a paperback bestseller on how to be happy, he should also look for a book on t’shuva. Before phoning a shrink, he should have a good, long talk with a rabbi.

In emphasizing that t’shuva is the cure for mankind’s anxiety and depression, we do not intend to negate the contributions of psychology and its related fields. Psychology has its place. For instance, an insecure youth will experience a feeling of liberation when he realizes that his parents are smothering him. The feelings of repressed anger which were causing him depression now can be dealt with. Similarly, when a man in couples-therapy realizes that he feels in competition with his wife because of unresolved childhood hang-ups with his brother, he will feel liberated to embark on a healthier marriage. However, while childhood traumas influence behavior and cause great confusion and pain, when they are finally uncovered and resolved, the catharsis which results is only a step along the way.

Until an individual erases all of the “neuroses” or barriers which separate him from God, he will remain estranged from his self, imprisoned in darkness, living either like an unfeeling zombie, or in depression and pain. Psychology and its branches can give him a start, but ultimately, the only real cure is t’shuva.

Rabbi Kook explains just how the healing takes place:

“With each passing day, powered by this lofty general t’shuva, his feeling becomes more secure, clearer, more enlightened with the light of intellect, and more clarified according to the foundations of Torah. His demeanor becomes brighter, his anger subsides, the light of grace shines on him. He becomes filled with strength; his eyes are filled with a holy fire; his heart is completely immersed in springs of pleasure; holiness and purity envelop him. A boundless loves fills all of his spirit; his soul thirsts for God, and this very thirst satiates all of his being. The holy spirit rings before him like a bell, and he is informed that all of his willful transgressions, the known and the unknown, have been erased; that he has been reborn as a new being; that all of the world and all of Creation are reborn with him; that all of existence calls out in song, and that the joy of God infuses all. Great is t’shuva for it brings healing to the world. When even one individual who repents is forgiven, the whole world is forgiven with him” (Yoma 86B. Orot HaTshuva, 3).

Thus, general overall t’shuva does not come to mend anything specific. It occurs when a person feels lost, surrounded by darkness, and cut off from God. In this drastic state, a total revamping is needed. The rotted foundations of this person’s lifestyle must be uprooted, and a new Divine foundation be built in its place. But where does one start? First by longing. By longing for God. This leads to prayer, a calling out for God from the darkness. Indeed, the search for a holier life will bring a person to discover two life-saving essentials of t’shuva — prayer and Torah. Prayer is man’s ladder to God.

By expressing man’s longing for his Maker, prayer builds a bridge between the physical world and the spiritual world. Once a connection has been made, man can begin to hear the “voice” of God calling back. God communicates with man through the Torah. The Torah is God’s will for the world, His plan for our lives. Discovering Torah, man discovers true light. Finally, he knows what to do. He knows how to act. With the guidelines of Torah, he learns to distinguish between good and evil, between pure and impure. In the past, his life was guided by his own ethical sense and desires, without ever knowing what was truly moral and just. Suddenly the darkness and uncertainty are gone. Anxiety vanishes. In the light of the Torah, his soul finds instant rest, secure that it has found the right path. Once again united with the Divine song of existence, he brings himself, and the whole world, closer to God.

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 “T’Shuva and Finding Happiness”

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
Swiss Amb. to Iran Giulo Haas presents his credentials to Iranian Pres. Rouhani
‘US and Iranian Cartoon Doves’ Shown Defecating on Bibi by Swiss Amb to Iran
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/tshuva-and-the-path-to-happiness/2012/08/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: