There are two kinds of Tshuvah:
1) Getting rid of guilt- this is when we atone for our errors, make restitution, etc.
2) Being Clean- this is when we cut ourselves off from the behaviors, after we have done number 1.
Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz calls this severance. The words that we say to ourselves are ‘these past actions are no longer a part of me even though historically and chronologically they may be true, they no longer have power over me’. This is an important part of TShuvah. Without severing ourselves from the prior bad acts, we carry them along with us as old dirty laundry or as barnacles on a boat and they weigh us down. Without severance from these prior bad acts, we will never believe we are clean and new. Maimonidies said that when someone does TShuvah, it is as if they are a new person. Since you are new, the old doesn’t have to have power over you.
One of the ways to do this is by the second exercise in your soul accounting. Make the four columns as yesterday and the heading is:
THE GOOD I HAVE DONE THIS YEAR
Everyone one of us has done good. This is harder for most of us to admit to ourselves. We brag and or remind others, yet we never accept this truth ourselves. One reason is that the burden of the obligation to always do good is too great for most people. It is why too much praise harms children rather than helps them. This inventory allows you to see the good you do and not compare one good act to another. Each good act creates its own angel, positive energy. Therefore, you can’t really say one good angel/positive energy is better than another!
The format is the same for the first three columns:
1) list the good acts/things you have done
2) Who was affected/impacted?
3) How were they affected/impacted?
4) How am I enhancing/continuing to grow this goodness?
See you tomorrow!