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Blotting Out Sin Or Elevating Sin: 

The Rav On Repentance

Source Sheet by Tzvi Pittinsky
1 like · Like
  1. (א) כָּל מִצְוֹת שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה בֵּין עֲשֵׂה בֵּין לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה אִם עָבַר אָדָם עַל אַחַת מֵהֶן בֵּין בְּזָדוֹן בֵּין בִּשְׁגָגָה כְּשֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה תְּשׁוּבָה וְיָשׁוּב מֵחֶטְאוֹ חַיָּב לְהִתְוַדּוֹת לִפְנֵי הָאֵל בָּרוּךְ הוּא...

    (1) All of the commandments in the Torah: whether they be the positive commandments, or the negative commandments; if a person transgressed any of them, whether he did so intentionally, whether he did so unintentionally, when he repents and returns from his sin - he is obligated to confess before God, blessed be He...

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  3. (ד) מִדַּרְכֵי הַתְּשׁוּבָה לִהְיוֹת הַשָּׁב צוֹעֵק תָּמִיד לִפְנֵי הַשֵּׁם בִּבְכִי וּבְתַחֲנוּנִים וְעוֹשֶׂה צְדָקָה כְּפִי כֹּחוֹ וּמִתְרַחֵק הַרְבֵּה מִן הַדָּבָר שֶׁחָטָא בּוֹ וּמְשַׁנֶּה שְׁמוֹ כְּלוֹמַר אֲנִי אַחֵר וְאֵינִי אוֹתוֹ הָאִישׁ שֶׁעָשָׂה אוֹתָן הַמַּעֲשִׂים וּמְשַׁנֶּה מַעֲשָׂיו כֻּלָּן לְטוֹבָה וּלְדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה וְגוֹלֶה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ. שֶׁגָּלוּת מְכַפֶּרֶת עָוֹן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁגּוֹרֶמֶת לוֹ לְהִכָּנַע וְלִהְיוֹת עָנָו וּשְׁפַל רוּחַ:

    (4) Among the ways of teshuvah are for the penitent to constantly shout before God with crying and pleading; and to do tzedakah according to his ability; and to distance himself very far from the thing in which he sinned; and to change his name, meaning to say “I am someone else and I am not the same person who did those things;” and to change all of his actions for good and onto the straight path; and to go into exile, because exile atones for sins since it forces him to bow and to be humble and of low spirit.

  4. Is this a good thing to have to forget one's entire past in which one lives in sin? How does it feel to have to forget one's past and act as if it never was?

  5. (ח) עֲבֵרוֹת שֶׁהִתְוַדָּה עֲלֵיהֶם בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים זֶה חוֹזֵר וּמִתְוַדֶּה עֲלֵיהֶן בְּיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים אַחֵר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא עוֹמֵד בִּתְשׁוּבָתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים נא-ה) "כִּי פְשָׁעַי אֲנִי אֵדָע וְחַטָּאתִי נֶגְדִּי תָמִיד":

    (8) Those transgressions that are confessed on Yom Kippur, one must again confess them on the next Yom Kippure, even if he remains repentant, as it says, (Psalms 51:5) "For I know my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me."

  6. If one forgets his past after he does Teshuva on Yom Kippur, then why should he confess these sins the following Yom Kippur?

  7. יומא פ״ו ב:ו׳-י״ג

    אמר ריש לקיש גדולה תשובה שזדונות נעשות לו כשגגות שנאמר (הושע יד, ב) שובה ישראל עד ה' אלהיך כי כשלת בעונך הא עון מזיד הוא וקא קרי ליה מכשול איני והאמר ריש לקיש גדולה תשובה שזדונות נעשות לו כזכיות שנאמר (יחזקאל לג, יט) ובשוב רשע מרשעתו ועשה משפט וצדקה עליהם (חיה) יחיה לא קשיא כאן מאהבה כאן מיראה

    Says Reish Lakish: Great is Teshuva for because of it premeditated sins are accounted as errors. As it says: Return, O Israel, unto the Lord, your God,’ for you have stumbled in your sin. ‘Sin’ is premeditated, and yet he calls it ‘stumbling’. And yet, Reish Lakish said: Great is Teshuva, for premeditated sins are made for him into merits, as it says (Ezekiel 33:19), "And when the wicked turn from his wickedness, and doe that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby." That is no contradiction: One refers to a case [of Teshuva] from love, the other to one due to fear.

  8. How does this work? How can Teshuva actually transform one's sins into merits?

  9. ברכות מ״ב ב:נ׳-מ״ג א:ג׳
    כי נח נפשיה דרב אזלו תלמידיו בתריה כי הדרי אמרי ניזיל וניכול לחמא אנהר דנק בתר דכרכי יתבי וקא מיבעיא להו הסבו דוקא תנן אבל ישבו לא או דילמא כיון דאמרי ניזיל וניכול ריפתא בדוכתא פלניתא כי הסבו דמי לא הוה בידייהו קם רב אדא בר אהבה אהדר קרעיה לאחוריה וקרע קריעה אחרינא אמר נח נפשיה דרב וברכת מזונא לא גמרינן

    When Rab died, his disciples followed his cortege. On their return they said, "Let us go and have our meal by the River Danak." After they had eaten, they sat on and the question was asked : Does our Mishnah intend that only when they recline [does one say the benediction for all] and not if they sit ; or is it perhaps that where people say, "Let us go and eat our meal in a certain place" this is to be regarded the same as reclining? They were unable [to answer the question]. Rab Adda b. Ahabah stood up, turned the torn part of his garment to the rear and made a fresh tear, exclaiming, "Rab has died and we have not learnt [the regulations of] the Grace after meals!"

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  11. At that moment the image of his father came to him and appeared before him in the window.

    Dedication Page to Halakhic Man by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik

  12. Sourcesheet for Blotting Out Sin or Elevating Sin,  On Repentance: The Thought and Oral Discourses of Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik By Pinchas H. Peli 

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Source Sheet created on Sefaria by Tzvi Pittinsky