teshuva in a moment

ScienceBlog mentions a scientific study bent on discovering how our brain responds to mistakes:
'It's a bit of a cliché to say that we learn more from our mistakes than our successes,' said psychologist Professor Andy Wills of the University of Exeter, 'but for the first time we’ve established just how quickly the brain works to help us avoid repeating errors. By monitoring activity in the brain as it occurs, we were able to identify the moment at which this mechanism kicks in.’
This is an interesting study in that the Talmud says that anyone who sins and repeats the sin a second time, that particular sin becomes permissible in his eyes. In other words, once we do something wrong, and then we willingly repeat it, it ceases to have that feeling of wrongdoing in the back of our minds. It's still wrong, we just don't pick up on it anymore.

The second time seems kind of sudden, what happened to three strikes and you're out?

From this study we can see that there is a rational behind wisdom of the Talmud. The second time we make a mistake, in less than a tenth of a second the brain has already picked up on it to warn us. The same is true for sins. The second time we perform one, if we don't immediately acknowledge our wrongdoing and do vidui (express our acknowledgement of our wrongdoing before HaShem) we knowingly deny that there was anything wrong in what we did.

On the other hand, when we want to do teshuvah, we see how rapidly the brain is willing to play its part and help us along, keeping us on our toes.


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