scoring on the rebound

The Baal HaTanya explains that our soul is like a rope that connects us to HaShem, through our actions, either we ascend upward to unify with HaShem or else we drag HaShem's head down into the muck with us. (A metaphor for bringing down the divine influx to feed the side of impurity)

We also see in Hesed l'Avraham that Rav Azulai describes how the Shechinah, in Her current state of exile greatly relishes the blessings brought down by even our simplest mitzwoth, being that She is so lacking. Likewise She calls out for judgement when our actions have negative repercussions and cut off the tenuous flow that She still receives.

In parashath Mishpatim, the Noam Elimelech gives us some crucial advice:

When one becomes aware of a sin one committed, one should immediately do teshuvah. He explains that while one remains in his condition of having sinned, any act of Kedushah that s/he may perform will nourish not only the side of holiness but also the "other" side. (chas v'shalom) By performing immediate teshuvah, not only are we cleansed of the sin, but we prevent our unintentional empowerment of the forces of impurity.

All of these different sources have cropped up in my learnings these past few days. Taken together we see the importance of Reb Melech's advice. Whenever we catch ourselves in a transgression, or whenever afterwards, whenever it comes to our attention, we should stop everything and return to HaShem at that very moment.

There are times when our emotional psychological and spiritual wellbeing all require that we pretend that we are perfect tzaddikim with no sins whatsoever--sometimes that is the only way to move on, it is actually part of our secret nuclear arsenal against the yetzer hara. But like any weapon it can be used for good or evil, we must also recognize the times when our avodah will be stronger by fessing up as soon as possible, pausing for a moment and taking responsibility for our actions. Perhaps this is a small taste of what it is to be a true Tzaddik, after all the Noam Elimelech is called the Book of Tzaddikim. We can see David HaMelech, Mosheh Rabbeinu, and other Tzaddikim on numerous occasions falling before HaShem in immediate teshuvah and prayer when they recognized even a potential wrong on their part.

Don't try to jump ahead of yourself, Reb Elimelech also points out that parashath Mishpatim comes right after the commandment not to alight on steps to the mizbeach in the end of parashath Yitro. This is an admonishment about rising above our level, rather than growing slowly and steadily. Perhaps from time to time we can start to introduce immediate Teshuvah into our lives when we have the strength and courage to do so.

In our teshuvah b'zrizut may we merit to receive the countenance of the Shechinah.


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