Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The concept of teshuva

B'H

There are many cases where people have turned their lives around in a most remarkable fashion. We have stories of former drug addicts who become prominent contributing members of society, alcoholics who remain sober and upright members of a community and people who have been in prison for whatever reason who follow a law abiding life once they are out. These people must be stronger than the negative perceptions thrown up through their former lives and associates. They succeed despite the best efforts of the media and the meddlers around them, to destroy them.

People generally do live up to expectations imposed upon them by social leaders. If the social leaders of a community are stern and judgemental, then you will find little sympathy for those weaker members of the community.If a person has a weakness, he or she should be helped to acknowledge and overcome their weaknesses but not be judged personally by their actions.
What is Teshuva? It is literally to return to a correct way of being and lifestyle. It is not about the concept of good and evil.  It is about correcting one's way of living life and dealing with others in a
G-Dly and holy way. If we look beyond into the essence of the soul, we then understand that our actions here in this world create an image in people's minds of who we are and that image is dependent on what we say, think, eat, write, act on and what we do. It is both very complex and very simple in essence.
How connected are you personally to G-D? Do you try to renew or refresh that connection every day?
As a Jew I do - in what I eat, pray, think and say (in the majority of cases, I am successful with lashon hara, but at times you err without realising it and need to make rectification quite often).
It pains me to read papers nowadays and I don't because when I do, I invariably get upset by what I read. Somethings, I think about for days afterwards.
Lately we have had a spate of media reports about someone who has not gone to trial yet and the papers have published his picture and 'convicted him' before the courts have even had a chance. That is wrong. Even if you are 100% sure this person is guilty, you are not the judge and jury of others. That is what lynch mobs are about and it is not justice.
This man has family and what is worst children of his own. How do you think they feel seeing their father's name plastered over a paper and condemned before he goes to a trial. What must go through the mind of a young teenager and what of the man's parents. I think we should at times shut up and have some respect for justice and fair play.
Innocent until proven guilty and if not, exonerated completely.

9 comments:

Ymr said...

Tshuva is very well defined in the Rambam's Hilchot Tshuva

Ymr said...

(BTW, your graphic is too big to load in reasonable time)

The Repenting Jewess said...

A person is not one dimensional. Someone can have a weakness in one area and excel in another. Perhaps he/she is generous with tzedakah but cannot remain faithful to his wife. Only Hashem can judge because no one knows the struggles any person undergoes internally.

Ilana said...

B'H
Loads in seconds on my computer Ymr, so maybe your browser is slow. Who knows? You probalby do know why.
I am sure that Teshuva is defined very well in the Rambam's Hilchot Teshuva. It should be if it is the Rambam. I don't even pretend I am even one thousandth as good as the Rambam, but I do have my opinion and my feelings about Teshuva too. Of course, I love reading and studying what the real Masters say too. However it does not stop me from having my own opinions.
People might say who is she to think what she has to say is worth saying and who wants to listen, (by the same token I could say who are they?) BUT if I am willing to listen to others and be respectful, the least they can do is be respectful back otherwise I can then question what do they really believe in.
I am interested in your opinion and I am not about ripping people down but inspiring others to learn and to grow in their knowledge.
If I took comments like that seriously I would never be a teacher as I would be too lacking in self confidence to even sneeze without permission.
Good shabbes!

Ymr said...

Image loading will always be fast when you have a cached copy. Clear cache and check again.

Ymr said...

The Rambam is a Rishon writing a sefer halacha. If you want to have opinions about halacha you need to understand the rules of halachic reasoning. The halachic process is about how Torah fits into life. It is very worthwhile to understand how this works and why it is NOT a matter of opinion. Opinion just *happens to be*.

Ymr said...

It is true the speculation, tale bearing and lashon hara are forbidden. BUT the concept that "only Hashem can judge" is total denial of Torah and sheva mitzvos. This ill-condisered opinion is, according to Rambam Pirush Hamishyanot Sanhedrin, an obstacle to Mashiach.

Ilana said...

B'H

I think we are on the same page, but I am very interested now to read Rambam's ruling on it. Do you have a link,I will probably google it.
I actually do understand how Halacha and Torah fits or guides our lives. Many years ago, I did a course with an excellent teacher called Elements of Halacha 1 and II. That was a very good basis or springboard for my further learning. I did that in 1987 and 1988, got a High Distinction and continued my passion for learning it and other Jewish learning every since. It was not that inspired me however, as I had started to learn the Hebrew Alphabet 1980 and used to spend hours in stacks at Monash Uni with the seforim there between studying for my course work. So don't treat me like some brainless airhead of a shiksa who converted on a momentary whim or because some Jewish stud bedded her and she thinks she is 'love'. I have a little bit of learning under my belt, just a little.
Shabbes!
Good shabbes

Ilana said...

B'H
Interesting. I have just touched on Rambam and immediately it is extremely relevant. See how great is the way Hashem works in this world if you are open to Torah and the performance of Mitzvot.
Here is the extract I read in English and I will see if I can post the Hebrew too.

'What is complete repentance? When a person has the opportunity to commit the original sin again, and is physically able to sin again, but one doesn’t sin because of his repentance. Not out of fear, or because of physical weakness. For example, if a man had forbidden sexual relations with a woman, and then at a later time found himself alone with her, even though he still loves her as much as before, and he has the physical strength to sin, and was in the same country as when he sinned, yet he refrains and does not sin, he is a baal teshuva (‘master of repentance’).' Just the really important extract. Now for the ivrit.
רשפאו,וברבעשרבדודיל אבש הז?הרומגהבושתאיהוזיאאלו הארימאל,הבושתה ינפמהשע אלושריפו,תושעל ודיבןמזרחאלו,הריבעב השיא לעאבש ירה :דציכ.חוכןולשכמרבעשהנידמבו,ופוגחוכבוהב ותבהאבדמועאוהוהמיעדחייתנהמלששאוה.הרומגהבושתלעבאוההז-רבעאלושריפו,הב(.א :ביתלהוק) "ךיתורוחבימיב,ךארובתא,רוכזו" רמוא
תושעל ול רשפאיאש תעבו,ותונקז ימיבאלא בש אלםאואיהתלעומ,הלועמהבושתהניאשיפלעףא,השועהיהשהמםויבהבושתהשעו,וימילכ רבע וליפא.אוההבושתלעבוולרשאדע"רמאנש:ןילחמנויתונוועלכ,ותבושתבתמוותתימםאשללכמ.התימהםוי אוהש,(ב:בי תלהוק)"שמשהךשחתאל.ולחלסנ ,תומישםדוקבשו וארוברכז

Once many years ago before I understood the forbidden relationships, I met an Israeli in 1984 and I we got together and I decided that it was going to be ok as I was going to convert anyway once I felt I had enough knowledge to go before the Beth Din to announce my intent to convert al pi halacha. He was a Cohen and one who was ignorant as to the importance of what was required of him as a cohen in the Beit Hamikdash. He was prepared to give up his kahuna status in order that we marry. Once I knew more, this I could not allow to happen. The line of a pure and holy cohen to be cut off because of me. NO! It took me a year to end the relationship with him once I was in Israel in 1986. He was a lovely guy and kept saying things like forget this etc etc it's ok to be just like we are. Of course, it was not. There was a reason for us to meet and I understand that it was just so I could do a hard teshuva before my conversion to fire my soul in the kiln of life's tests so to speak. It was also to help him understand his status as a Jew more fully.
I have had several more tests and luckily passed them although at one stage I was in a very depressed state of mind and my bitachon for a while was severely shaken. I married a non Jew and had a child who is Jewish. We divorced and I realised afterwards this was a test I had failed badly and resolved not to fail again. My ex Non Jewish husband is now happily married to another Non Jewess from his country and he appears quite happy.
I was also tested again when contacted by a very handsome Cohen who wanted me to meet him for coffee a year or so ago. I meditated for some time on this email and decided on an appropriate response that would steer him in the right direction and help him realise who he really is.
So I do think I understand this concept well. I used to like KFC and I can pass KFC stores and still feel an intense longing but I am very aware it is not kosher and therefore for me, inedible.
In the same context, I can see and meet a very nice man but if he is a non Jew or a Cohen he is forbidden to me and nothing will change that. the price people will pay spiritually for indulging in a forbidden relationship is beyond belief. One should be very faithful to one's spouse because it is very damaging both to the soul of the children and the wife. The hurt of the injured party is noted in Shama'im and it is a terrible thing spiritually.