Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nida Biyehuda - Part 5

That which you asked me to arrange an order of teshuva for this baal teshuva and you mentioned he is weak and can’t fast so mauch, you also mentioned the amazing hasmada with which he learns day and night and does not say unnecessary things and does not sleep in a bed at night. Now, you asked a difficult thing, for I usually do not answer questions for which no answer is found in the gemara and poskim, for we have not found in all the Talmud the unmber of fasts for each sin according to its severity. True, the verse states "return with fasts." But the number of fasts is not in Tanach of the gemara, but Mussar and Teshuva books go into great lengths in these matters but most of their words are based on thoughts from the stomach (in Yiddish we call this a boiche sevara, a thought from the stomach, meaning you’re using your stomach to think instead of using your head -Ed.) without any basis. And each book quotes from the next oe but they have no foundation. We find in these books many stringencies and many leniencies and it is difficult for me to answer, especially after I see that this man is a young Torah scholar he should arrange his own Teshuva, especially because these Mussar books are very accessible. But because you want to know and he is weak and is a young Tora hscholar I will not hold myself back from commenting. Now his sin is very grave - adultery with a married woman is very serious. And he did it very often over three years and he was with her I nthe house and he was obviousle wit hher many, many times and would he have the years of Mesushelach (the oldest man ever - 969 years) he would not be able to fast enough to counter the sin according to the Teshuva system of the Rokeiach, which is based on Kabbala, and we cannot compare his words to the later works (apparently he means compared to those Mussar books which he just said have no basis). And the Knei Chochma said for those who return [in repentance] it is sufficient to do teshuva of the same weight for that sin three times has no basis. And if someone who did an aveira for which you would receive malkos 20 times and he was warned each time, would three sets of malkus suffice? Beis din will punish him according to the number of warnings. And an explicit mishna says if they told [a nazir] don’t drink [the wine] several times, he receives multiple sets of malkos. And that which he said with the third time the sin is stained on his neshamaand there is nowhere for the fourth time [of the sin] to [affect his neshama], this has no merit. Is his son the only thing affected? It makes problem in higher [worlds (see Nefesh Hachaim, Shaar 1 - Ed.)] and Chazal said on the verse "Vatishkach kel mecholelecha (Haazinu)....I don’t look at these types of books, but I remember a little from my youth.
All this would be important if fasting was the main part (me’akeiv) of teshuva. But it is not; fasting is subordinate to Tehsiva, and the main teshuva is leaving the sin and verbal confession (vidui) with a broken heart and deep heartfelt remorse and a desire to love the Creator (Hashem) and that is returning to Hashem . Everything else is subordinate to this. Know, there is no doubt that Teshuva affects full atonement and this is explicit in Tanach and in both Talmuds and in all the midrashim. The prophet Yechezkel said "when a rasha returns from his wickedness..." "All the sins that he sinned will not be remembered. And there is no doubt that in the time of the Sanhedrin if he violated a capital sin if the witnesses did not come for many years and in the meantime he did teshuva and fasted so much, beyond what th eRokeiach says, and after the Teshiva the witnesses testified against him in Beis Din certainly the Beis din will not take his teshuva into accountand they will give him the punishment of sekila or sereifa etc. according to his sin. This matter is hard to understand, for Teshuva helps and he already turned away from his sin and he received atonement, why is he killed? We don’t kill innocent men! Yet the mishna says if someone guilty of a capital crime did teshuva the beis din cannot firgive him [and they must give hi mthe punishment he deserves]! So it is the gzeiras hakasuv [that we kill him] for if we allow teshuva to push off the punishment, we will no longer have a system of capital punishments. Whenever someone will be guilty he won;t be killed because he will do teshuva. Since Hashem wanted go give punishments of death for a small number of sins so people will be afraid of transgressing them, teshiva will not help for a capital crime. If you think a certain teshuva regimen is the main part of teshuva it should have been told to Moshe at Sinai, and then why shouldn’t teshuva help to save one from capital punishment? Even though there will be some who don’t do teshuva, and there are some thinkgs to do like sit without clothes in front of bees [to get stung which should be for teshuva] or to roll in snow [and the pain should be for teshuva] and other similar things mentioned in these teshuva books, and whoever does not do this will get killed by beis din, even fasting won’t work if the witnesses come to beis din before he was able to fast all the days he needed to fast. ..But fasting is not the main thing; real teshuva is sincere remorse. This can be achieved in one moment...

Even though there are four levels of forgiveness - Chazal said if you transgressed Kareis or misas beis din, Teshuva an Yom Kippur [hold your punishment in abeyance] and yissurim (sufferings) will cause you to achieve forgiveness - seems to show that yissurim are the main part of the forgiveness? I answer that it’s true that you need yissurim, Chazal said even trying to take three things out of your pocket and you only got two is yissurim, see end of perek yesh b’Eirachin. And it’s true that the Rokeiach is kabbala and he gives a specific teshuva for a sin, that’s external to help the baal tehsuva break his stubborn heart to be able to have remorse in his heart. As long as his heart is not broken he cannot have remorse. Someone who is able to break his heart though Torah study , I would be very lenient in the number of fasts. But remorse and a broken heart and cerying is very important and one who cries privately is praiseworthy. For the main Teshiva I see this man has already made great strides - he hasn’t sinned with this woman since he got married two years ago even though they still live in the same house. Gemara end of Yoma says who is a baal teshuva? When the same [opportunity to] sin came once and twice and he was aved from it. Rav Yehuda said it must be the same woman during the same time period, and that was fulfilled with this man. Still, while it was the same woman, it’s not really a similar situation because now this man is married, but when he sinned he was a bachelor, and I do not know if he stopped sinning with her from teshuva or because his wife would have found out about it.

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