Friday, September 21, 2012

The Teshuva Pressure

Ritual washing hands in front of the Kotel (Western Wall)

Photo: Miriam Woelke

So, here we are. Yom Kippur is right ahead of us and the present "Aseret Yame'i Teshuva - Ten Days of Repentance" are just screaming out to us: "Teshuva, Teshuva, Teshuva !"

Usually when I hear the word TESHUVA, I just see a tons of Mitzvot and rules right in front of me. Such an amount of Mitzvot piling up to a mountain. This is the time when I start panicking. I don't necessarily see myself as a failure but there are times when you feel that you simply cannot make it. To get out of this pressure situation, you keep telling yourself that everything has got so bad that you probably won't make it anyway. So, why then start at all ? The word TESHUVA alone seems like a huge burden and the only solution is: Escape.

Last night I went to a Shiur where the Rabbi was talking about Yom Kippur and Teshuva. There weren't too many people because the Shiur started right after Zom Gedaliyah was over. However, those few people listening to the Rabbi apparently thought like me. One woman asked the Rabbi whether we now have to do a perfect Teshuva. All of us looked at the Rabbi with the hope that he may say NO.

To make a long story short, he didn't say NO but he did give us hope. 
Teshuva doesn't mean correcting the whole world and turning into the most perfect person within a few days. Instead Teshuva begins within ourselves. We should ask ourselves what we can do. In small steps and not a speedy exaggerated kind of Teshuva. 

Sit down and think about what YOU can do. Don't look at the world or your neighbour but your own little step of Teshuva according to your potential. With what are you comfortable and how you should continue in the future ? Don't think about huge changes but tiny little steps on you path of becoming a better person.

When the Rabbi said "Tiny Steps" we were all happy. Suddenly Teshuva didn't sound like such a great and impossible burden but a task we can learn how to deal with. There is no need for becoming a complete person within seconds and this is what encouraged us to get some Teshuva done.

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