Volume 25: Number 357
Fri, 10 Oct 2008
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmo...@012.net.il>
Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2008 22:02:30 +0200
Subject: [Avodah] [Fwd: Re: tora questions]
3] is there an issur to write a sefer for a non-O institution?
This is answered in Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:174
??"? ????? ??? ???? ??? ??? ? ???? ???
?? ???? ????? ?"? ?????"? ?? ?????????????? ????? ????? ????
?????? ??????? ????"? ?????? ????? ????"? ?? ???? ????? ?????"? ??
?????????????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ???? ??? ?????
????? ?????. ?????? ????? ???? ??? ????? ???? ??? ?????? ?"? ???? ??????
?? ??"? ?????? ???? ???? ??' ???? ???? ??"? ??' ??"? ?"? ????? ??? ???"?
???? ???? ????? ???? ????? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ??? ??? ????? ?"? ??????
????? ????? ????? ????? ???? ???? ??? ???????? ??? ??? ???????????????
???? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ????? ??????? ???????? ?????? ??? ?? ??????
?????? ???? ??? ????? ???? ???? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ???. ???
?"? ???? ??"? ???"? ???? ???? ?????"? ?? ????? ????? ??? ??????
???????????????? ???? ???? ????? ?????? ???? ?????? ?????? ????? ????
?????? ????? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ???? ???
???? ???. ???? ????? ??? ??"? ????. ??? ?????????
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From: Yitzhak Grossman <cele...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2008 21:07:52 -0400
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Yelulei Yalil
On Wed, 8 Oct 2008 10:22:38 -0400
Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:
> When a Middle Eastern ulelelates, crying a high pitched "lalalalalala",
> it's a sound of joy. (If the woman in question is the Eim Sisera of the
> 100 qolos, maybe she is happy her son died a hero, a shahid.) Ulelate is
> an onomatopoeia (a word that sounds like its meaning), so could "yelilah".
According to various (not necessarily reliable) sources, ululation can
express either grief or joy. What is your source that, at least when
done by Middle Easterners, it must be the latter?
> Micha Berger I long to accomplish a great and noble task,
Bein Din Ledin - bdl.freehostia.com
An advanced discussion of Hoshen Mishpat
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Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 01:48:34 EDT
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Praying to angels
From: Micha Berger firstname.lastname@example.org_ (mailto:mi...@aishdas.org)
On Sun, Oct 05, 2008, Danny Schoemann wrote:
:> We do see cases of angels making mistakes. Some examples:
:> - The Bnei Elohim were supposedly angles who seduced humans
:> - The angels that went to destroy Sdom had to admit to Lot that all
:> was not in their hands, after bragging they were in charge.
:> - In Chagiga there's a story of the Angel of Death's gofer killing the
:> wrong person - and it's made to sound like a non-rare occurrence.
On Sun, Oct 05, 2008, T6...@aol.com wrote:
: I've always understood this kind of stories in a "dibra Torah beloshon
: Adam" kind of way, that they are stories told as seen from a human
: perspective with lessons that we humans are supposed to learn from them...
>>So you do believe that you can declare a story in the chumash an
allegory based on your own reasoning? I am surprised. Personally,
I would distinguish between the first two cases which are pesuqim in
chumash and the third, which is aggadita....
....If someone prays to something without bechirah, then the act is silly --
why ask something that has no choice? It would be like, "Rock, may it
be thy will not to fall when I let go of you." <<
1. When I said, "they are stories told as seen from a human perspective" I
did not mean that the stories in the Chumash were "allegories" that never
actually happened! In fact, I'm amazed that you took it that way. I meant
that the stories are told from a human point of view, not from G-d's point of
view, events as they are seen here below and not as they are seen from Above.
I meant that when creatures that don't have bechira are depicted as acting
"badly" it's because from a human perspective it looks that way, but in
actuality they can only do what Hashem tells them to do.
So if the Bnai Elohim were angels who seduced humans, then they could only
have done so if Hashem wanted them to do that. Of course that is a big IF --
it is by no means clear from the Chumash that the Bnai Elohim were malachim
and I quite doubt that they were. There are other interpretations that make
more sense to me.
The same is true in regard to the malachim who came to Lot. I believe that
story really happened, I don't think it's an allegory and I didn't say it's
an allegory. (I also don't think it was part of Avraham's dream, I don't
think the whole visit of the three angels was all a dream or a vision. There are
different meforshim and I claim the privilege of preferring those I prefer.
It makes no sense to me that the angels were all a vision but Lot was really
saved and Sodom was really destroyed.) Whatever the angels said to Lot they
could have said only according to Hashem's will. If it looked like they
made mistakes or had to admit error, that could only be the way it was made to
appear according to human understanding.
A slightly analogous situation would be Hashem saying, "Na'aseh Adam"
speaking to His pamalya, not because He needed their advice or input, but in order
to teach human kings and all human beings the midah of anava and the positive
value of consulting underlings, to teach by example -- Mah Hu rachum and so
2. Angels don't have bechira, but they do have intelligence, and therefore
speaking to them is not a mindless act like speaking to a rock. I don't
believe that making a request of angels is the same thing as "praying" to them,
but we seem to be going round the same mulberry bush. I don't think saying to
the angels on Friday night "Borchuni lesholom" is davening to them any more
than asking a Rebbe for a bracha is davening to him. The angels will bentsh
you whether you ask them to do so or not, you are only acknowledging that
that's what they do and being courteous to them. If you ask a friend to put in
a good word for you with his boss, you are not praying to your friend. I know
you skip the line in Sholom Aleichem that asks the malachim to bless you
but do you also skip the passage in the Gemara that says the malachim bentsh
you? Do you skip the pasuk in Chumash where Yakov asks the angel to bless to
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From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Wed, 08 Oct 2008 14:03:25 -0400
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Is the term ?He died before his time? correct?
Micha Berger wrote:
>> R' Aharon Kotler zt"l commented to a student on the occasion of the
>> birth of the student's son about the phrase "The beris should be
>> be'ito ubizmano", using both "eis" and "zeman" to denote its proper
>> time. Similarly the famous words of Koheles, "Lakol zeman va'eis...
>> everything has its zeman and its eis..." Rav Aharon explained the
>> difference. If the baby is healthy, then the beris is at the
>> pre-decided time, on the eight day. If not, then it will be at the
>> right time for that individual baby. Ideally the beris would be at
>> An eis is a time that comes according to a prescheduled appointment,
>> ready or not. It is a point in a shanah, in cyclic time that runs its
>> celestial heartbeat regardless of human action. A zeman is a landmark in
>> the course of progression.
In that case, we should refer to a delayed bris as "shelo be'itah"
rather than "shelo bizmanah". But leshon Chazal is "shelo bizmanah",
e.g. Shabbat 132b. Perhaps this is a chiluk in leshon mikra which
was lost in leshon Chazal, and was recovered in the modern era?
Did Chazal even use "eis", when not quoting or referring to a pasuk?
In a very cursory search, I only came across two such instances in
mishnayot, one of which seems to be an archaic formula.
Zev Sero Something has gone seriously awry with this Court's
z...@sero.name interpretation of the Constitution.
- Clarence Thomas
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From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 12:03:45 -0400
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Is the term he died before his time correct?
I wrote on Erev YK at 1:42pm EDT:
> On Wed, Oct 08, 2008 at 09:43:16AM -0400, Cantor Wolberg wrote:
>: It can all be reconciled with Tosfos' response that when the
>: Gemara says that they are written and sealed for life or death,
>: it doesn't mean in this world, but in the next world.
> I never got this, since a person is judged upon petirah for olam haba.
> What does having a fate sealed in olam haba between YK and death mean?
A lurker replied (posted with reshus):
: 1) About Tosfos on Olam Haba the Rashba to RH 16 asks your question on
: Tosfos. See Sifsei Chaim (Friedlander) who explains that whether a person
: has a good or bad year in Olam Hazeh depends on whether he is a Ben Olam
: Haba or not.Once determined that he is a Ben Olam Haba (according to
: the GRA within Tosfos - for Tzaddikim that is written and sealed on RH)
: or that he is not (Reshaim on RH) or if it is undetermined until YK
: (Beinonim) [That is R' Kruspedai in RH 16b]...
: ... then Hashem decides what kind of Olam Hazeh he has for that year
: (everyone written on RH and sealed on YK - that is R' Yishmael in RH
: 16a). A Rasha might have a good year to give him reward since he is
: out of Olam Haba, and a Tzaddik a bad one, etc. But the determination
: of being a Ben Olam Haba has to made annually.
I then asked (in that same email):
> In general, if a person is assessed at all times ba'asher hu sham, what
> is the judgment of Yamim Noraim, or the 3 other times we are judged?
To which he answered:
: 2) Judgement of Yomim Noraim - on Rosh Hashanah is Baasher Hu Sham
: of intensity of Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim. (Rav Wolbe Alei Shur
: vol. 1 on Yomim Noraim, based on Rabeinu Chananel).
Micha Berger One doesn't learn mussar to be a tzaddik,
mi...@aishdas.org but to become a tzaddik.
http://www.aishdas.org - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507
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From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 12:19:51 -0400
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Yelulei Yalil
On Thu, Oct 09, 2008 at 09:07:52PM -0400, Yitzhak Grossman wrote:
: > When a Middle Eastern ulelelates, crying a high pitched "lalalalalala",
: > it's a sound of joy.... Ulelate is
: > an onomatopoeia (a word that sounds like its meaning), so could "yelilah".
: According to various (not necessarily reliable) sources, ululation can
: express either grief or joy. What is your source that, at least when
: done by Middle Easterners, it must be the latter?
It was the only meaning I knew of. I'm punting the metzius question to
those of us from Edot haMizrach (naturally or by marriage) and therefore
would know better.
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From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 13:09:26 -0400
Subject: Re: [Avodah] Is the term "He died before his time" correct?
On Wed, Oct 08, 2008 at 02:03:25PM -0400, Zev Sero wrote:
: >>R' Aharon Kotler zt"l commented to a student on the occasion of the
: >>birth of the student's son about the phrase "The beris should be
: >>be'ito ubizmano", using both "eis" and "zeman" to denote its proper
: >>time. Similarly the famous words of Koheles, "Lakol zeman va'eis...
: >>An eis is a time that comes according to a prescheduled appointment,
: >>ready or not. It is a point in a shanah, in cyclic time that runs its
: >>celestial heartbeat regardless of human action. A zeman is a landmark in
: >>the course of progression.
: In that case, we should refer to a delayed bris as "shelo be'itah"
: rather than "shelo bizmanah". But leshon Chazal is "shelo bizmanah",
: e.g. Shabbat 132b. Perhaps this is a chiluk in leshon mikra which
: was lost in leshon Chazal, and was recovered in the modern era?
More significant is the notion that there are at least two definitions
of at the right time", thereby allowing someone to die at the right time
by one definition but being deprived of the opportunity to fill out his
time by the other.
I suggested that a qeitz can only be when the endpoint of the process
and the timeline coincide.
That's enough to answer the original question.
Zeman vs eis, do they reflect this distinction between time as a dimension
vs processes, and if so how, is arguably seperable into a second issue. I
would agree that the connotation of the words could have changed over
In tefillah we speak of "zeman cheiruseinu", "zeman matan Toraseinu",
"zeman simchaseinu" as points on the calendar. Pesach is time for
cheirus, and the processes of history are pulled into that pre-arranged
What does it mean when it speak of zivah "belo eis nidasa"? That it's
definitely zivah because it's not the right time of the cycle, or that
it may be zivah because it's not the right date?
"Eis la'asos Lashem", both peshat and derashah, appear to be about a
point in the process, not on the timeline.
Micha Berger Rescue me from the desire to win every
mi...@aishdas.org argument and to always be right.
http://www.aishdas.org - Rav Nassan of Breslav
Fax: (270) 514-1507 Likutei Tefilos 94:964
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From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2008 13:24:11 -0400
Subject: [Avodah] Teshuvah
This article on Nishma ((C) 2002) by our chaver R' Yaakov Feldman, was
too complete of a treatment of the topic to miss. I am therefore taking
the liberty of quoting
<http://www.nishma.org/articles/journal/tshuvah.htm> in its entirety.
From NISHMA JOURNAL no.IX
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
Tshuvah is often misunderstood. Rather than an unfortunately necessary
response to our weaknesses, tshuvah is the very life-blood of Torah. It
is the power than enables this world to be our platform for growth,
for development, and for change.
In this article, the author introduces the reader to this powerful and
unique Torah concept. Touching upon many of the characteristics that
expose its complexity and difficulty, Rabbi Feldman uncovers tshuvah's
Rabbi Yaakov Feldman, a frequent contributor to NISHMA, is a free-lance
author and speaker residing in the New York City area. His first book,
a new translation of Mesilat Yesharim with commentary, is expected in
the very near future.
This article on tshuvah, is a prototype for a more extensive work on
the subject that Rabbi Feldman is also preparing for book publication,
tentatively titled "Move to Tshuvah: A Jewish View of the Metamorphosis
of the Self".
AMONG THE MANY STORIES OF TSHUVAH, repentance, is the one told of the
Polish shtetel of Dzialoshitz, with its three hundred Jews, its two
rabbis and its one graveyard with a tomb of a long-dead tzaddik.
It was nearly the end of the war against the Jews in Europe when
Dzialoshitz's were told to meet in the marketplace in three days for
"work assignments". As you would imagine, everyone was terrified and
either wept, prayed or sat stunned."What'll we do?", the red-haired
peddler asked for everyone else. The shochet's oldest son suggested that
they all do tshuvah, and that seemed to make sense.
So the entire k'hilla filled the large shul in Shabbos clothing, with
tallis and t'phillin, reciting vidui and weeping. And by the third
single Jew there glowed, which haunted the gentiles. Three days of
tshuvah and the Jews of Dzialoshitz were ready.
They set off for the marketplace....
Humbly, and with all due respect to the three hundred kiddoshim of
Dzialoshitz we have to ask, "could any religious person not be moved to
tshuvah under those circumstances, and not know how to come to it?
"But, what is tshuvah in our more blessed, less treacherous lives?
How do we come to it, and how do we change as a result of it?"
THE BROAD VIEW
In its wisdom, the Zohar compares tshuvah to life itself. And
that's because true tshuvah lasts a whole lifetime; and like life,
it's mercurial and complicated, completely different for everyone and
universally necessary. For as the Abarbenal put it, "who never sins?",
and as the Slonomer Rebbe says, since it's as natural for us to enjoy
destruction (and so to sin) as it is for us to enjoy construction,
we all need tshuvah.
Yet, the Slonomer adds, tshuvah should not just be a reversal of sins. It
should raise you up somehow, up-end you - confront you far away from
home and convince you to come back, or find you in danger and bring
you to safety. Maybe that is why tshuvah is identified with Geulah
and Ir Miklat.
In what is probably one of the most cynical Midrashim, tshuvah is even
called a "bribe" - a means of paying off the Judge to avoid judgement.
All in all, however, tshuvah is in fact a spiritual manoeuvre, a way
to know and draw closer to G-d and of improving the world itself
that is other-worldly, and yet as accessible as the sea and
The central issue, though, is how we can change through it, how do we
change? For after all, change is the heart and whole point of tshuvah.
THE DETAILS OF TSHUVAH
To begin our investigation of how tshuvah changes us, we must look at
the mechanisms of tshuvah.
Varieties of Tshuvah
There are as many kinds of tshuvah as there are mistakes and corrections,
but there are primarily four.
First, there is the kind of tshuvah that is supposed to remedy mistakes
in mitzvohs (ex., the accidental or wilful violation of the Shabbos,
etc.). That is, in fact, what most of us take tshuvah to be good for in
the first place. We understand that we have it to fall back on when we
either overlook a whole mitzvah or part of one, and we are very happy
to understand that G-d, in His wisdom, acknowledges our inabilities and
defects, and provides us with tshuvah for them. Yet there is more to it
Secondly, there is the kind of tshuvah that is supposed to mend character
weaknesses (eg., near constant anger, greed, etc.), for our selves
- expressed in our personalities - need repair, also. Needless to say,
that sort of tshuvah is more intimidating and involved, and it is very
often dodged with the excuse, "what can I do?... I was born that way...."
Thirdly, there is the kind of tshuvah that's supposed to change incorrect
outlooks, hashkofos (eg., that Judaism denies the resurrection of
the dead, etc.). As the Rambam says, we Jews are required to express
certain outlooks instead of others.
And fourthly, there is the kind of tshuvah that is supposed to amend a
non-spiritual attitude to life (eg., living for your career rather
than using it to make a living, and not concentrating on your Torah life,
etc.). We might not ordinarily think of that as one of tshuvah's concerns,
but it is certainly a fundamentally sensible one, considering what Torah
is and what it demands of us.
The Process of Tshuvah
Rambam says there are four steps to tshuvah: (1) the abandonment of
the sin, trait, attitude, etc. under consideration, (2) verbal confession
of the sin to G-d, (3) shame and regret for having committed or assumed
it, and (4) the taking upon oneself never to do, act or think that way
again. Considering each one, even briefly, we see a sequence. The first
step is reasonable and obvious. For, after all, if we're going to release
a sin, we're obliged to not do it any more.
The second step - confession to G-d - however, touches upon our whole
selves again. It asks you to own up to your faults and to soberly consider
your deeds through G-d's eyes -a deeply humiliating experience, to say
The third step - shame and regret - also touches the self, but
differently. Shame and regret ask you to admit your faults to your self,
and to concede that your world-view and your insights into the truth were
wrong. That is shattering and frightening, and brings you to real change,
as we will see.
And the fourth step - the taking upon yourself never to do, act or think
that way again - is, of course, the ultimate act of commitment. It is
the act of being reborn, of redoing and of evolving.
Then the Rambam tells us that all that is only basic, not "complete"
tshuvah; that complete tshuvah only comes when you fulfil a certain
requirement, which is: that you be in the same circumstances you were when
you first committed the sin, that you have the same chance and ability
to do it you had before, but that you not do it - and this is critical -
for the sake of tshuvah.
That gives you the chance to completely undo and untangle yourself
from the deed and to absolve yourself of its influence - like a vessel
that's become unkosher by being touched by hot treifus, that can only
be re-kashered by immersion in comparable heat.
And finally we are told that tshuvah is just as legitimate if it is done
to avert or "treat" bad circumstances in your life as it is if it is
done altruistically; that it cannot really be done without G-d's help;
and that it is ultimately an act of self-annihilation before G-d,
a coming to nothingness.
But we are also warned, and possibly most meaningfully, that tshuvah
should not be done just intellectually or abstractly, as an exercise in
changing values or in self-analysis. It has to be done both intellectually
and emotionally - with mind and heart in tandem, thoroughly. For,
sadly enough, mere knowledge doesn't necessarily lead to change which,
as we said, is the whole point of tshuvah. That only comes by becoming
aware of and practising this deeper form of tshuvah and by understanding
something of the workings of sin.
We come to the first aspect of thorough tshuvah, emotional tshuvah, the
same way we come to sin. Just as you sin by seeing something forbidden
that you would like to have or to do, by coveting it and then doing
something physical to have it, you come to emotional tshuvah by
"seeing" the Presence of G-d in the world, desiring closeness to Him,
and doing tshuvah.
And we come to intellectual tshuvah by realizing that G-d, in
His greatness, created us and the world itself out of nothingness,
altruistically and for the love of us. That will deter you from doing
anything against His will, and should coax you to act righteously. It
will also have you realize that, spiritually speaking, you have
"blemished" G-d's Glory with your mistakes, for without that, even your
deepest regret for your sin is nothing but a sin itself.
Now we must explore sin and its stimuli.
The Yetzer Harah and Thorough Tshuvah
As we all know, the force behind sin is the yetzer harah, the so-called
"evil inclination". So, we have to understand how it affects us
all-in-all, and most especially how it affects tshuvah.
What the yetzer harah does at first is diminish sin in your eyes and
make the sin, wrong trait or attitude a faceless, nameless "something
or other" instead of a thing that separates you from G-d. Then it
limits your awareness and narrows your perspective so that you become
wrapped-up in yourself and your needs, rather than the transcendental,
like a child thrilled with a knickknack. So we see that sin is a
result of limited awareness and needs to be confronted with tshuvah,
which is a result of expanded awareness (because it involves "seeing" and
being aware of the Presence of G-d in all places, as we said above).
Knowing that about the yetzer harah, and using the principles of thorough
tshuvah, you can now change.
Coming to Change
Obviously, you change when, following the four steps to tshuvah cited
above, you start off by no longer committing the sin you are repenting
for. But, that is a change of a way of doing things, while we are
referring to a change of self, a transformation. You do not come to
transformation at the second step, confession to G-d, either - though
you do come to grief, and to the belief that you should change.
You only begin to change your self at the third step, at the point of
shame and regret (and certainly at the fourth step, too). Because when
you display those traits, you show that you have disconnected yourself
from the sin in question and no longer identify with it.
But you have to deepen your reaction then. And this is probably the point
at which true change of self occurs. You have to shift from regret, which
is a sorrow that comes from not having something you want, to remorse,
which is a sorrow that comes upon your whole self and brings about true
and profound change. The Rambam refers to that degree of change when he
says that as a penitent you should, "change your name (as if to say,
'I am someone else; I am not the man who did those things'), change
all of your ways for the good and toward the path of righteousness,
and exile yourself."
Your True Self
That will bring about change and awaken you, turn you 'round and 'round
and re-do you. It will force you to act contrary to the way you acted
before, and will have you begin to see yourself anew. In fact, when
you sinned, you saw yourself in a crooked light and ideal, and acted
accordingly. You saw yourself, for example, as the owner of something
that wasn't yours and was never meant to be, and you tried to make it
yours by stealing it.
You then go through thorough tshuvah, which begins with the wish to see
yourself in a newer light, struggling toward a newer ideal, and ends
in that "change of name and place" - all with the same ferocity and
confidence with which you sinned - and you find yourself changed.
Then you will reveal and accept your true self, which is actually rooted
in righteousness. For while sinning, you were robbed of the ability to
recall your true self, and you came to hate it, preferring your yetzer
harah which is alien to you, in your blindness.
And so in one way you have to return to your real self, and in another you
have to be reborn, like a convert who is compared to a new-born. And
that suggests that you have to be reborn both spiritually and physically,
Some, like the Holy Ari'zal, even hold that a penitent should immerse
him/herself in a mikveh when repenting, like a convert when converting,
the analogy is so great. For immersion in a mikveh helps in rebirthing,
because when a person, who is normally a land animal, immerses himself
in the water of mikveh, his humanity becomes temporarily nullified in the
all-water environment, and he comes out another person - i.e., reborn.
The process of rebirthing, by the way, solves a problem in tshuvah, which
is: how can you be forgiven for something wrong you did in the world
just by going through tshuvah, no matter how thoroughly? Can you deny
the birth of an illegitimate child or bring a murder victim back to life?
The answer to that, it seems, is related to the one given by Rav
Yoseph Albo in response to another, relevant question: How can we
"coerce" G-d to "change His mind" about something in our lives through
prayer? Isn't it crazy to think we can?
What happens in fact, Rav Albo explains, is not a change of G-d's mind
but a change of person. By praying deeply and sincerely you come out of
prayer another person with another destiny, and you do not suffer the
consequences of the person you once were, who no longer exists. We can
gather from that that when you repent thoroughly and come to be reborn,
your whole self changes, and you no longer suffer the consequences of
your past actions, you are "forgiven".
And so we are asked to struggle toward tshuvah, not just to correct
our mistakes and start fresh but to evolve to newer, higher spiritual
levels, to fulfil G-d's wish that our world be one of tikkun
and to realize a basic truth of life: that everything depends on us.
1) Yetzer Harah - Rabbi Feldman, in endnote 28, presents an innovative
definition for yetzer harah. In his article, Tree of Knowledge, Rabbi
Benjamin Hecht presents another attempt to define this elusive entity. The
difficulty arises from the many positive references regarding the yetzer
harah. It is necessary for the world to exist (T.B. Yoma 69b). It is
called tov m'od (Bereishit Rabbah 9:7). We are even called upon to love
and serve G-d through it (Mishneh Berachot 9:5). Can we define it simply
as the drive to do evil? (What is evil?) Why does this drive grow stronger
with a person's ascent in Torah (T.B. Sukkah 52a)? Is the benefit of the
yetzer harah in its defeat? See Da'at Tevunot. For further sources, see
The Sages 15:6.2) Responsibility for Ideas - While, obviously, we must
continuously grow in thought, change misperceptions as we gain a clearer
view of the truth, tshuvah implies more. It involves the acceptance
of responsibility, coupled with remorse, for a previous misdeed. How is
tshuvah on incorrect hashkofos possible? Isn't an incorrect thought simply
a mistake? The answer is somethimes yes and sometimes no. How, though,
do we distinguish? See Rashi, T.B. Shabbat 31a; Rabbi Norman Lamm's
Faith and Doubt. The question whether the person who says omer mutar,
it is permitted, incorrectly, is karov l'meizid or ones, close to wilful
or as one compelled, is also on point. See, to start the investigation,
T.B. Makkot 9a.
NISHMA-Torah articles broadly cover the complete spectrum of Torah study
- from Halacha to Tanach, from Gemara to Hashkafa, from Rationalism
to Mysticism. Their objective is not only to increase Torah knowledge,
but to encourage us to think about Torah issues and to draw us into the
Suggested Study Topics follow each article, providing issues and questions
intended to spark further intense Torah investigation and discussion.
 Commentary to Deuteronomy 30:1
 N'sivos Shalom, Nesive HaTshuvah 4:1
 Ibid., Preface
 T.B. Yoma 86b
 Zohar 2:114b. An Ir Miklat is a Biblical "city of refuge" an
inadvertent murderer escaped to, to avoid retribution from members of
his victim's family.
 Shocher Tov, T'hillim 17
 Shir Hashirim Rabbah 5:3
 T.B. Yoma 86b
 Higaon HaTshuvah, Hegyonei Halacha, R. Mirsky. Page 147
 Shocher Tov, T'hillim 65
 N'sivos Shalom, Ibid. 8:1
 Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Tshuvah 7:3
 N'sivos Shalom, Ibid., Preface (at end)
 Perush HaMishnayos, end of Sanhedrin
 cf. chapters 1 and 2 in Hilchos Tshuvah
 Ibid. 2:1
 Avodas Yisroel, by R. Avraham of Slonom, cited in N'sivos Shalom,
 Sha'arei Tshuvah 1:1
 Sha'arei Tshuvah HaMevuar 1:43
 Ibid. 6:4
 N'sivos Shalom, Ibid. 9:2
 Tur, Orach Chaim 1
 N'sivos Shalom, Ibid. 4:4
 Rebbe M'Kuvrin, cited in Ibid. 6:1
 Ibid. 6:3
 I've always thought "evil inclination" was a poor translation of the
term. Everyone has a yetzer harah, but few of us are "inclined toward
evil" (with obvious exceptions). Yet most people are inclined toward
materiality and the apparent, rather than to G-dliness and the invisible,
which is the gist of the problem. Yetzer harah should be translated as
the "material inclination".
 N'sivos Shalom, Ibid. 3:1
 Ibid. 4:3
 Ibid. 8:5
 Maharal, Nesiv Hatshuvah, Ch. 5 (at beginning)
 Regret can be used in the sense of, "I regret never having
had such-and-such", referring to something forbidden. So, it is not
necessarily a lofty trait.
 Rambam, Ibid. 2:4
 Michtav Me'Eliyahu, Part One, p. 255
 T.B. Yevamos 22a
 N'sivos Shalom, Ibid. Preface
 Shem M'Shmuel, cited in Mirsky p. 150
 Sefer Ha'Ikkurim 4:18, cited in Mirsky p. 155
 Refer to note 4 above
 Nesivos Shalom, Ibid. Preface
 Sifsei Cohen, "Ma'amar 'Elul'" p. 19
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