We are now in the season of teshuvah, which is generally translated as repentance. This is however not an accurate, true to the Hebrew word, translation. More accurately, the word teshuvah means, to return. The very big difference is that, repentance is for someone who sinned and transgressed against G-d, while to return is applicable to everyone. Everyone can perform this very powerful commandment, to return back to a more pristine and original state of spirituality, G-dliness and soul cleanliness.
The soul when it is first placed in our bodies as it descended from G-d, by its very nature, is pure light, bliss. Complete bursting life energy and clarity. Over time, dust accumulates over this spark of light and darkness, confusion, lethargy, questions and weakness settles in.
We are searching, and G-d makes it easy for us during this season of the High Holidays, to rediscover the light, the inner childlike carefree joy, the faith and optimism that knew no worries. For that, our sages tell us, our focus must not be on the darkness and the problems, because as the expression goes, he who lies with dogs will get up with fleas. If we think of all that’s wrong, we remain attached and connected to just that.
To rediscover the light within, we must make every effort to get all the ways of conduct that are not G-dlike out of our minds, lives and atmosphere, totally. Every effort must be made that our minds and lives should be surrounded and immersed in the desired goal, the awareness, the love and fear of G-d. The mindfulness that everything is good and everything will be good, because everything is G-d.
The great spiritual and G-dly Rabbi Zusya of Anipoli asserted that he could not attain the lofty heights of such a teshuva, therefore he broke down this journey into more manageable components. For each letter, of the Hebrew word teshuva (to return back to this pristine level of existence) is the initial of another verse in the Bible. Tamim - Be sincere with the Eternal, your G-d: Shiviti - I have set G-d before me always. : V'ahavta - Love your fellow as yourself. B'chol - In all your ways, know Him. Hatznei'a - Walk discreetly (in modesty) with your G-d.
To be sincere and whole hearted with G-d, the first step in the five step program is to put aside all the thinking and once and for all take the leap of faith. Give up all the questions and worries and put life in, His hands. Many times our minds are the biggest stumbling blocks to real progress. Free yourself of the limitations of the mind. It’s about time we surrender and yield to G-d’s plan whole heartedly.
Step #2, When someone finally realizes no one is self-made and G-d makes it rain when and where He desires, it is a lot easier to accept everything that transpires in our lives. There is a plan although many times we weren’t consulted. We cease to rebel, to be angry and resist what’s happening, and we can say with a full heart, “this too is for the good.”
Step #3, The only way we can love everyone and overlook the superficial differences between one person and the other is because we have trained our mind to look and to be sensitive to what’s beneath the surface. To appreciate it’s not all that we see that matters, it’s what is internally taking place that makes the difference.
Every person has a spark of G-d inside that is no less, or more important than the other. All of us have a unique purpose to complement the picture & that no one could ever replace. This thought makes us respect every individual as the other, because everyone person in the grand schemes of things is as important as the other.
To be continued.