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ripples of water

Yom Kippur: Teshuva / Repentance, or more accurately, “To Return”

Lesson 29: Sept 28/Tishrei 8

Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz (1873-1936), the famed and revered Mussar teacher who was the mashgiach [spiritual supervisor] of the Mir Yeshiva, wrote (in his book, Daat, Chochma u'Mussar, vol. 3, letter 161, pg. 171):

Teshuva is the highest and most exalted level [a person can attain], since it is the level of humanity itself. This means to say that [when we do teshuva] we are [actually] returning to our true selves. The “self” is the highest and most exalted level of a human being…. This is the meaning of the Talmud’s statement (Yoma 81a), “How great is teshuva, for it reaches the Kisei Ha’Kavod [the Throne of Glory].”

In what way do you understand "teshuva" as “returning to one’s true self?” Does this assertion make "teshuva" easier or harder for you? Why?

Your practice for this week is to engage directly in the four primary components of the teshuva process as delineated in the Practice document. Today, shift your focus to your relationship with your innermost self. Identify an area where you feel particularly distant from your pure, inner core. Perhaps you can identify an area where your innermost will and your external actions are out of synch or a middah that is high on your personal curriculum. Engage in the teshuva process as it pertains to this relationship.


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Today’s learning is sponsored by Regina Gradess and Bonni Kraus, in memory of Faith Rosenzveig, who exemplified the middah of rachmamim— compassion. Although not able to have children of her own, our aunt channeled her love and compassion to caring for animals, both her own cats and those in need. She supported and was an advocate for many animal welfare groups. She fit right in with our family of animal lovers! May her memory continue to be an inspiration.

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