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ripples of water

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

Lesson 30: Sept 29/Tishrei 9

Rabbi Avraham Isaac Kook (1865 – 1935), the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, wrote in Orot HaTeshuva (16:7):

Every complete Teshuva must bring about two contradictory effects upon the soul. On the one hand, sorrow and regret for the sin and evil that are within each of us; on the other hand, trust and joy for the goodness that is surely deep within. Even if at times one’s own estimation is so clouded that you cannot find any good at all, nevertheless, the very fact that you are absorbed in sorrow and regret because you recognize sin and evil—this fact itself is a great virtue. One should immediately become happy, trustful, and filled with strength and might for this goodness, until one finds oneself constantly filled with spirit and life—even amidst the most oppressive thoughts of repentance.

Which emotions does the Teshuva process evoke within you? In what way can you have joy and “the spirit of life” animate your Teshuva process?

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, continue to focus on your relationship with your innermost self. Identify an area where you feel particularly distant from your pure, inner core. Engage in the teshuva process as it pertains to this relationship.

See the details of your weekly practice by clicking HERE.

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Today’s learning is sponsored by Regina Gradess and Bonni Kraus, in memory of Ilie Stern, who exemplified the middot of ne’eman — loyalty and chaveirut — friendship. Ilie Stern was a Holocaust survivor, like our mother. She was the one loyal and trusted friend who was loving, funny, and sensitive enough to reach our mother’s guarded heart. She made a difference in our mother’s life — and she, and we, are grateful. May her memory continue to be an inspiration.

Special thanks to Rachel Greengrass and Micha Berger for their work in helping to create Elul material.

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