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Pushing off Teshuva?!
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Im Paga be’cha menuval zeh, mushchei'hu le- BEIS HAMEDRASH! This board is for divrei Torah relating to our struggle with the Yetzer Hara, from the entire spectrum of Tanach, Chazal, Mussar and Chassidus. On this board there will be no posts about personal struggles and no debates. Only TORAH CHIZUK.
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TOPIC: Pushing off Teshuva?! 270 Views

Pushing off Teshuva?! 05 Sep 2021 19:48 #372225

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I have seen it said both here on GYE and elsewhere that for those fighting lust addiction now is not the time to do teshuva for the past.  Focusing on teshuva will cause unhealthy feelings of guilt and lack of self worth and can be detrimental to ones fight against the yetzer harah. 

This idea has always bothered me. After all teshuva is a mitzvah and how could doing a mitzvah cause you harm? Furthermore רבינו יונה writes that it is a terrible thing to push off teshuva. The standard answer given to this question is that what can one do? He is an אונס.  However, I believe that there is a much better answer. This answer comes from a proper understanding of what is the essence of teshuva.

I will start by simply defining the term תשובה. The word תשובה comes from the root שב which means return. And that is the essence of teshuva: returning.  Specifically, returning to Hashem.  What does it mean to return to Hashem? Whenever we do mitzvos we bring ourselves closer to Hashem. Conversely, by doing עבירות we distance ourselves from Hashem.  Therefore, returning to Hashem means turning away from doing עבירות and going back to doing mitzvos properly.  Teshuva is not about dwelling on the past but rather about fixing our current course of action.

I believe that this can be seen from the Rambam in hilchos teshuva where he describes what is complete teshuva.

      אי זו היא תשובה גמורה זה שבא לידו דבר שעבר בו ואפשר בידו לעשות ופרש ולא עשה מפני התשובה לא מיראה ולא מכשלון כח

"What is complete teshuva? When one end up in a situation where he is presented with the עבירה that he previously transgressed and he is able to do [the עבירה] and he turns away and does not do it because of the teshuva [that he did] not due to fear and not due to lack of strength" (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Teshuva perek 2 halacha 1)

The Rambam is describing what it means to have completely done teshuva and what he describes is a person who has worked on himself to the point where when faced again with the same nisayon this time he has the strength to overcome it. 

According to this view of teshuva everyone on GYE is fully involved in doing teshuva. Every step that we take to prevent ourselves from falling, from installing filters to posting to avoiding triggers is all doing teshuva. All of these things are steps to separate ourselves from our previous ways and to prevent ourselves from being nichshal in the future.  

Re: Pushing off Teshuva?! 06 Sep 2021 03:41 #372239

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Beautiful post!
I would just like to add though that the classic answer (I think) is not that we are an ones, rather that we are sick. The first step is to get healthy. It may be the step before teshuva, or as you wrote, that may be a part of teshuva.
Either way we are not just 'pattur' so to speak, rather we are 'chayav' to get healthy first.
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Re: Pushing off Teshuva?! 06 Sep 2021 05:25 #372245

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You can search for it, it's been debated a thousand times here. In the end, it's a machlokes between some of the GYE greats (between the "12 steppers" and non "12 steppers" I think) if this is part of azivas hacheit that Rabeinu Yona says is the first step of teshuva for guys who are na'asis lo k'heter or this has nothing to do with Teshuva and it's just recovering from an illness (the 12 stepper version). Addicts working the steps cannot be doing anything else including Teshuva. They are not doing teshuva, they are learning how to live life and regain their sanity. It's not an aveiros issue that they are dealing with, it's an addiction. We don't do teshuva for addictions, we do teshuva for aveiros.
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Last Edit: 06 Sep 2021 07:44 by wilnevergiveup.

Re: Pushing off Teshuva?! 09 Sep 2021 01:22 #372263

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wilnevergiveup wrote on 06 Sep 2021 05:25:
You can search for it, it's been debated a thousand times here. In the end, it's a machlokes between some of the GYE greats (between the "12 steppers" and non "12 steppers" I think) if this is part of azivas hacheit that Rabeinu Yona says is the first step of teshuva for guys who are na'asis lo k'heter or this has nothing to do with Teshuva and it's just recovering from an illness (the 12 stepper version). Addicts working the steps cannot be doing anything else including Teshuva. They are not doing teshuva, they are learning how to live life and regain their sanity. It's not an aveiros issue that they are dealing with, it's an addiction. We don't do teshuva for addictions, we do teshuva for aveiros.

Very well said !
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