In some ways, I conceive of Hashem as the greatest of writers. Except, instead of working with fictional characters in a fictional world, he works with real people in the real world.
Returning is about asking hard questions. Many of these questions have never been asked until now, perhaps, because we’ve been too frightened of learning the answers. But the time has come to ask those questions.
In the yeshiva on the mountainside
We gather to entreat the Lord of all
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.
Bottom’s up I recently had a very disturbing conversation. A Rav I know and with whom I’ve worked on a number of kiruv initiatives over the years was setting out for one of his frequent trips to the US in his valiant and seemingly indefatigable quest to reach Jewish hearts. “I’m wondering if it’s time Read more
The deception of his brother and his father must have weighed heavily on him. For nearly two decades he has lived away from home; ample time for the event to magnify itself in his mind and become a fixation. What else could I have done? He knows that he did wrong. He also knows that it was necessitated by the situation.
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.
A subconscious thought becomes explicit when it is articulated in speech. Things unspoken—and unspeakable—may have tremendous influence on one’s outward thoughts and feelings far beyond what we can ever be aware of. Until we can articulate the thought, and bring it into conscious awareness, we have no control over it. So it is with Teshuvah, and so it is with the Geulah.