Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Charata and Azivas haCheit

I recently acquired a new sefer that is Beis Elokim (the Mabit) with Beis Moshe (notes and explanations by R' Moshe Roberts, shlita, of Telshe, Chicago).  Besides the fact it is nice to give parnassa to one of our local tzurba d'rabanan, it has also introduced me to the Mabit.  I am learning the second volume, on Tshuva.  I also have the first volume, which is on T'fila, I am starting with t'shuva.  Wish me luck.

The Mabit has a slightly different angle on t'shuva that I am finding very enlightening.  In particular, he explains why charata (regret for past misdeeds) and azivas ha'cheit (abandoning the sin) are the real back bone of t'shuva.  The other components are important -- even crucial -- but these two really define and shape the essence of t'shuva.  First the Mabit explains why we need both charata  and azivas ha'cheit.  If I simply feel really, really badly but don't abandon the sin, then it is like going to the mikveh with a dead rat in your hand.  If, on the other hand, I stop the bad behavior but don't feel really, really badly, then perhaps I have just lost my desire for the behavior.

There is a deeper reason that these are not just two of the essential components of t'shuva, but, in fact, the essential elements of t'shuva.  Regret is a mental change.  Leaving the sin is a physical change.  The sin was perpetrated by both the body (who did it) and the soul (who wanted to do it).  Therefore, says the Mabit, the rectification requires actions from both the body and soul.  He brings and explains the medrash regarding Kayin's complaint to HaShem: Is my sin to great for you to bear?  You bear the upper creatures (ie, You created spirituality) and you bear the lower creatures (ie, You created physicality) only so that You could create the human being.  You wanted me to be in a difficult position (struggling against the darkness of physicality for its own sake) in order that I could come closer to You.  If I stumble and want to return, isn't it just and fair that You should accept me?

T'shuva, therefore, is not so much concession to my weaknesses, but an essential ingredient of my growth.  With that perspective, stumbling is not a failure at all; it is rather the first step to greatness.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…