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ripples of water

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

Lesson 26: Sept 25/Tishrei 5

The venerable Mussar classic, Chovot HaLevavot / Duties of the Heart, consists of 10 sections (or “gates”) written by Rabbi Bahya ibn Paquda in Spain (and in the Arabic language) in the 11th century. R’ Bahya lived in Zaragoza, Al-Andalus (now Spain) in the first half of the eleventh century, and his book has been a revered pillar of Mussar learning and practice ever since that time. Influenced by the Muslim Sufis who were active in Spain in that era, R’ ibn Paquda sought distinctively Jewish answers to the sorts of spiritual questions the Sufis were asking.

He writes in the Gate of Repentance (chapter 4):
There are four essential elements to repentance: (1) feeling remorse for past sins; (2) desisting from them and renouncing them; (3) confessing them and asking forgiveness for them; (4) undertaking, in one’s heart and innermost being, not to repeat them….
When you display these four components of repentance, along with their conditions, the Creator forgives you for your iniquity, and overlooks your transgressions.

Rabbi Yisrael Salanter understood that the essence of teshuva was changing one’s behavior, or committing to a change, and not regret or remorse.

Which of these components do you find most challenging? 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. Continue your focus from yesterday on your relationship with others. Identify a person that you have wronged and/or a person that has wronged you. Engage in the teshuva process as it pertains to this relationship.

See the details of your weekly practice by clicking HERE.

Click HERE to access an archive of our Elul material. Click HERE to access this week's video.

Today’s learning is sponsored by Regina Gradess and Bonni Kraus, in memory of Mayer Rosenzveig, who exemplified the middot of gevurah — strength, imutz HaLev — courage, and manhigut — leadership. Our paternal grandfather came to this country — all by himself, in his teens. He started with nothing and eventually was able to create a business that employed every member of his family (who were all expected to do their share), as well as many others. He was a man of strength, determination, good humor, and love. May his memory continue to be an inspiration.

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