The way back is full of joy; you can smile beneath the tears

Teshuvah: The Joyous Road Back

Three forms of teshuvah are explored In Chasidic thought; the third form of teshuvah is especially relevant to our times, in which the world exhibits an unprecedented readiness for the coming of Moshiach • Teshuvah From the Inside

Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, “The ten days of Repentance,” is a special time period in which G-d gives us a special opportunity to come closer to him and do teshuvah.

Three forms of teshuvah are explored In Chasidic thought:

1) To examine all our deeds, discern the unwanted ones we did which distanced us from G-d. When we regret them and take upon ourselves to never repeat them, we once again restore to our natural closeness to Him.

2) A higher form of teshuvah, which is not merely about fixing up the past. It’s about striving to be connected to G-d in a deeper and more meaningful manner than even before we sinned!

However, there is a disadvantage in each of the above mentioned forms of teshuvah:

In the first form of teshuvah, one will actually fix all his wrongdoings, but won’t strive to connect to G-d in a deeper form. His focus on his sinful past won’t allow him to strive higher; all he wishes to do is to restore his past connection to G-d.

In the second form of teshuvah, because of the excitement in getting closer to G-d, little focus is put on fixing up past wrongdoings. Ironically, while one strives high, his psyche is still tainted with a sinful past!

That brings us to the third form of teshuvah which is actually a combination of the first two: to focus on fixing up all of one’s past wrongdoings and simultaneously strive to forge a deeper connection to G-d.

In essence, each form enhances and compliments the other. An analogy is given of a healthy person with a tiny external malady. He isn’t considered a sick man because of it; the scratch is only minor and could be healed in no time, yet the malady is there and needs to be treated. server information His general health allows him to focus on better and quicker healing his external minute malady.

So too, a person who is striving towards the higher form of teshuvah mustn’t forget the details. To the contrary, the mere fact that he is pursuing the higher form of teshuvah and feeling a greater closeness to G-d, allows him to more easily accomplish the lower level thereof; He more than anyone else feels the bitter consequences of sinful behavior!

The arrival of Moshiach will heighten us to a never before experienced closeness to G-d, which now, in the final moments of Galus (exile), we are offered a taste of. We must now strive high, and still we mustn’t forget to focus on correcting our personal deeds. Our foresight of Moshiach actually allows us to do this very retrospection and teshuvah with tremendous joy, knowing that we are about to enter the era of Moshiach.

Adapted from a talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe on Shabbos Parshas Noach 5752, Sefer HaSichos 5752 vol. I pp. 63.