TESHUVA


I. Definition - regret, commitment to change, confession (RMBM, Hil. Teshuva, 2:2)

A. independence of components: regret can be sincere without commitment to change (believes unable to change); commitment to change does not imply regret; both not imply confession

B. centrality of confession - religious dimension: teshuva means return (to G-d)

C. implication for nature of sin - damaged relationship

II. Avoidance of negative influence vs. self-transformation - strategy and goal

A. Teshuva defined as above; complete teshuva requires passing test of identical conditions of past failure out of motivation to do teshuva: (1) What is significance of difference? (2) Why define complete teshuva first (in terms of teshuva)?

B. (ordinary) teshuva allows temporary commitment with later failure of behavior; also allows strategic avoidance of conditions of failure without even temporary immunity

C. (ordinary) teshuva is only stage towards complete teshuva - latter is required goal

III. Gradualism - reasonable long-term strategy - hypocrisy trap

A. if only capable of partial improvement then that is teshuva

B. if really capable of more, at least that much behavior is improved!

C. hypocrisy = not making an honest effort to improve

IV. Teshuva relevant only for transgressions done deliberately or through negligence - for ; ; the usual baal teshuva neither is true of his pre-religious life

V. Teshuva via awe or love; past becomes unintentional or good. Connection explained via analysis of the Yetzer HaRa

&#A. hates man, wants to kill man, desires specifically what is forbidden (Kid. 30b, Succah 52 a-b, Nedarim 91, Sanhedrin 75, Jer. Nedarim chap. 9, law 1) - perverse yetzer

B. very good, necessary for ideal life and joy in learning (Gen.Raba 9:7, Zohar 138a) - morally blind yetzer - accidentally evil

C. Torah dissolves/breaks it, David killed it, G-d will remove it to a desolate place (Nedarim 30b, Jer. Sota Chap. 5, law 5, Succah 52a)

D. instrument for serving G-d ("both hearts" - Deut. 6:5, Rashi; Jer. Sota Chap 5 law 5, Abraham vs. David - cf. Michtav MeEliyahu, v.3,148 ff.); Torah is "spice" for it (Kid. 30b - cf. Ein Yaakov)

VI. The explanation: C (= "repression") used vs. A and B, D (= "sublimation ") used only vs. B; awe ® repression - incomplete resolution; love ® positive use of all capacities - complete resolution. Present evaluation of past transgression in terms of present psychology. Awe ® past transgressions would not be presently done, hence only accidental; Love ® present positive use of the originally negative traits = rehabilitation, making positive contribution to present good, hence evaluated positively.


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