Monday, November 8, 2010

Complete Teshuvah

Our sages teach that genuine teshvuah is so strong that it can transform sins into merits.
Doing complete and permanent teshuvah is not simple however. In the words of Rabbeinu Yonah: “Even though one has admitted his sin and ceased his negative behavior he should still understand that he may not have done enough. In order to do a true teshuvah he must ascend many levels. Perhaps one day he will fail to attain the level necessary and instead he will begin to slip back into his old behavior. Another problem which must concern him is the possibility that his base nature will overpower him.
“The only way to be sure of victory is for him to increase his yiras shomayim every day. He must also continuously daven to Hashem for aid in doing teshuvah and that He help him to overcome his base nature.
He concluded, “It is due to a hardness of the heart that many people fall into the mistaken belief that they have done enough teshuvah and stop working on themselves. Sadly, in this manner one punishes himself since he falls into pride and is unable to honestly evaluate his level. When a person is no longer careful to work on his character defects, this is a sign that he has fallen to a low level. This person also has lost touch with his obligation to prepare himself for Hashem. He is indolent, so his base nature—always on the look-out for opportunities to cause him to fall—gains the upper hand and defeats him.”

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