This was sent to me by my friend, Rav Yosef Stern. Enjoy and learn:
Five Pointers on Teshuvah
When it comes to Elul, we often associate it with Teshuvah. This approach is correct. The Chayei Adam states, “Although teshuvah is accepted at any time, the month of Elul is a time when teshuvah is more readily accepted, because it has been designated as days of favor ever since we were chosen to be His nation.”1
1) What does teshuvah mean?
Most people translate teshuvah to mean repentance. In simplified English, what does the word teshuvah actually mean? Teshuvah is a compound of תשוב אל ה“[You shall] return to G-d.”2
2) Where does teshuvah come from?
Teshuvah is listed as one of seven things created before the universe, because without it the universe could not endure.3
3) How powerful is teshuvah?
It reaches unto the Divine Thrown of Glory.4 It’s so powerful that it eradicates one’s sins so that no blemishes remain on his soul.5 The gates of teshuvah are forever open.6 There is nothing that stands in the way of teshuvah.7 Even if one has sunk to the very depths of the swamp of evil, everything can be turned around, for no one is permanently banished from G-d.8 Teshuvah is equal to all other mitzvos!9
4) How does one begin to do teshuvah?
One first needs to desire doing teshuvah. For the Gemara10 says that one, who truly desires to do teshuvah, Hashem assists him. The hardest part of teshuvah is extremely difficult because it requires breaking ingrained habits.11 In fact, the word חרטה regret, comes from חרט chisel; deeply engraved habits must be chiseled away. R’ Yisrael Salanter observed that it is easier to learn the entire Talmud by heart than to break a single habit.12
Yet, how does one determine what he needs to rectify? Rav Tzadok HaKohein of Lublin tells us:
In that area in which his yeitzer hara pulls him the most, he is a most fitting receptacle to become exceptionally pure and innocent. In that area where he has sinned many times, he can become totally cleansed and pure of heart.13 The Steipler Gaon goes further, “When one overcomes [his yeitzer hara] and withstands the test,14 Hashem’s Name is sanctified greatly and the person’s
merit is awesome and wondrous. Even in IN THIS world the person will, in the long run, see gratification. For any pleasure from which a person refrains so as to honor Heaven will be repaid to him in another way, in a permissible manner, over the course of time”15
Yet, understand that, “No matter how low one sinks, no matter how deeply he is immersed in a web of immoral thought and behavior, he is still obligated in all the Torah’s Mitzvos and will receive reward in the Next World for performing them. However, the reward will be granted only after his soul has been purified of the sins he has committed.”16 Elsewhere, he states, “Through overcoming his desires, one brings great Kiddush Hashem… and merits incredible siyata d’Shmaya in all matters be it in studying Torah or improving one’s character and even in matters pertaining to this world.”17
5) What should one’s outlook on teshuvah be?
Rav Yaakov Emden says, “Strengthen yourself with teshuvah; do not slacken. Hope is not lost and there is reward for your efforts.”18 The Rambam states, “We can never say to ourselves that we are so deeply entrenched in sin that nothing can help us. With courage and conviction we can move forward in teshuvah, knowing that Hashem will help.”19 Furthermore, he states, “A person who does teshuvah should not imagine that he is distant from being righteous on account of his past. It is not so. Rather, he is beloved and cherished before the Creator as if he never sinned.”20
All Hashem requires of us is that we take the first step, as in, “Open for Me a tiny opening of teshuvah - return back to Me - and I will open for you openings through which wagons can pass.”21 The Creator is telling us, “Whatever you are capable of doing with your own strength do it.”22 For the Gemara states, “G-d does not make matters difficult for His creatures. However, He does expect a person to perform according to his capacity.”23 Nevertheless, one who seeks to purify himself from his sin, Heaven will assist him and ultimately, he will gain the upper hand.24
Rav Tzadok HaKohein of Lublin says a fundamental concept:
“Just as one must believe in Hashem, so too, one must believe in himself.” Hashem wants us to BELIEVE in our strengths, capabilities, ability to overcome evil and achieve greatness.”25 In conclusion, Rav Scheinberg states, “Serving the Almighty properly involves constant challenges, which takes consistency and persistence to succeed… Only FOOLS give up HOPE.”26
2 Devarim 30:10.
3 Nedarim 39b. See also Bereishis Rabbah 1:4 and Medrash Tehillim 90:12.
4 Yuma 86a; see Artscroll Yuma 86a, note 60 and 86b, note 5.
5 Tanchumah, Parshas Vayeira 18.
6 Devarim Rabbah 2:12.
7 Mishnah Berurah 128:129 and Rambam, Mishnah Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 3:14.
8 See Shmuel I 14:14 and Nefesh HaChayim 1:17.
9 See Artscroll Baal Haturim Chumash on Devarim 30:10.
10 Yuma 39a, Avodah Zarah 55a and Menachos 29b.
11 Michtav MeEliyahu.
12 The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet by Michael L. Munk zt”l, page 202.
13 Tzidkas HaTzaddik #49.
14 “G-d does not elevate a person to greatness until He first tests him – with a small matter” (Bereishis Rabbah 55:1 and Shemos Rabbah 2:3). See The Aryeh Kaplan Reader, page 156 and Ramban to Bereishis 22:1. Tests and challenges are not an unfortunate fact of life, but a sign of Hashem’s trust and confidence in our ability to prevail. (The Six Constant Mitzvos by Rabbi Yehuda Heimowitz and Rabbi Shai Markowitz, pages 146-147) See also The Aryeh Kaplan Reader, page 156. Yes, He ‘knows’ how difficult things are for us. For, “He knows all our thoughts” (see Tehillim 33:15).
15 Karyana D’Igarta 1:133.
16 Karyana D’Igarta, volume I, #12.
17 Ibid. 15 .
18 Zos Brisi by Rabbi Shimon Finkelman, page 119.
19 Mishnah Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 3:14.
20 Rambam, Mishnah Torah, Hilchos Teshuvah 7:4.
21 Shir HaShirim Rabbah 5:3.
22 Koheles 9:10.
23 Avodah Zarah 3a. See also Shemos Rabbah 34:1.
24 Chofeitz Chayim in Zechor L’Miriam. See also Mo’ed Katan 5a.
25 See Tzidkas HaTzaddik #154.
26 Rav Scheinberg by Rabbi Yechiel Spero, page 261.
I thank Rav Stern for this excellent essay on Teshuvah. There is no better month of the year for such information. Read it, study it and internalize it, Teshuvah is one of the greatest gifts from Hashem to help us succeed and by happy.
Island Reappearing in Rapidly Depleting Sea of Galilee Could Signal Beginning of Messianic Prophecy
I have to include this video from Manitoba, Canada. It is the best shot of Nibiru that I have seen from a private citizen:
I thank our dear friend, Greater Monsey for finding it. When everyone in the world sees this but much, much bigger, will there still be any question about Moshiach being announced immediately? When the Earth starts to shake and all the other crazy changes increase at a very intense level, will there still be a question about all the Jews doing Teshuvah? Hashem's plan is working and is immanent.