The call to Teshuvah is the voice of our age. It has called our deepest longings into actuality. We were like dreamers, and though we plowed in sorrow and seeded bitter thorns, we are now gathering in a harvest beyond our wildest dreams.
In Teshuvah, we go through some of the same stages as in mourning. We acknowledge the mistake—it was the wrong thing to do. We experience regret, understanding the full import of our wrongs. We reach a point where all of the regret, despair, grief, and longing to make right can find expression. We become someone else, someone who even if brought to exactly the same circumstances, would not make the same mistake again.
What does Teshuvah have to do with healing from trauma. Not much at first glance. But as a trauma survivor, I’ve come to see that there are, in fact, some intriguing connections. In fact, these connections take us straight through the lessons of Elul, from Parashat Ki Tavo and into Parashat Nitzavim.
Early Morning In Elul Villanelle The old woman sits at the Western Wall. Although she’s toothless and her eyes are dim, She sits and waits for the shofar’s call. Around her shoulders a white shawl, Her face sags, her expression grim, The old woman sits at the Western Wall. Across her hands gold bracelets fall, Read more
Teshuvah is listed as one of seven things created before the universe because without it the universe could not endure.
There is truly nothing
Heartfelt Teshuva cannot do.
As we approach the month of Elul – the time set for introspection and repentance – we often look towards Sifrei Mussar or other Jewish works to give us direction, insight and strength to confront one of the biggest challenges one can face: ourselves.