Friday, February 18, 2011

The Power of Teshuvah

The Sifsei Tzaddikim, zt”l, explains why a ba’al tesuvah is higher than a tzaddik with a parable. “A certain person discovered a fortune of money in a deserted place in the woods not far from his home. The money was out in the open and he was afraid that someone else would discover it and take it before he had a chance to come back for it. The problem was that he had nothing with which to convey such a large cache of coins to his house.
“After a few minutes of thought he realized that if he took off all of his clothes, he would be able to form a makeshift sack to carry the money. The moment this thought hit him he immediately took off all of his outer clothes and put the money in his improvised satchel. But since it was so heavy he had no choice but to drag it home with great difficulty. As he was almost at his door, a gang of bandits spotted him and snatched his treasure away.
“Imagine the disappointment of this unfortunate wretch. After all his pain and self-sacrifice, he lost the money right on the threshold of his home. He wishes he had never taken the treasure in the first place.
This is how the yetzer hara feels when a person does an עבירה לשמה. It takes much time and effort to trap a person in sin. If the moment the yetzer is about to entrap him it turns out that he does the sin for the sake of heaven, the yetzer wishes he had never tried to entrap this person in the first place.
“This explains why a baal teshuvah stands in a higher place than a tzaddik. He transforms all of his sins to merits and makes the yetzer wish he had never started with him to begin with!”

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