Posts Tagged ‘Teshuva’

3
Oct

Mistakes: Kishinu Oref

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Studies have shown that if you and another person are debating the merits of a particular idea and the other person suddenly insults you, you will instantly retreat further into your own position, and your conviction that the other person is wrong will intensify.

I admit that it is far easier to “win” an argument with an obnoxious person then it is to win in a debate with an irritatingly reasonable person. My tongue sharpens when I am on the receiving end of a series of insults. Biting sarcasm cuts off the feet of my interlocutor, and then I can zoom in for the kill. It’s quite easy to reflect on such occasions as an appropriate use of anger. However, the Vidui wants us to consider not only the appropriateness of the anger but also the element of stubbornness.

In a powerful series of events, King David is held responsible for his stubborn response to Mephibosheth. The story opens with a beautiful scene in which David searches for a descendent of the House of Saul so that he may deal kindly with him for the sake of his dear friend, Jonathan. This is one of my favorite scenes in the life of King David as he demonstrates his loyalty, generosity and kindness:

David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

Now there was a servant of Saul’s household named Ziba. They summoned him to appear before David, and the king said to him, “Are you Ziba?”

“At your service,” he replied.

The king asked, “Is there no one still alive from the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?”

Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”

“Where is he?” the king asked.

Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.”

So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.

When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor.

David said, “Mephibosheth!”

“At your service,” he replied.

“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”

Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.” (Now Ziba had fifteen sons and twenty servants.)

Then Ziba said to the king, “Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do.” So Mephibosheth ate at David’s[a] table like one of the king’s sons.

Mephibosheth had a young son named Mika, and all the members of Ziba’s household were servants of Mephibosheth. And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet. (II Samuel, Chapter 9)

However, at a difficult juncture in David’s life he fails the crippled Mephibosheth:

When David had gone (as he was running for his life before the armies of his rebellious son, Absalom,) a short distance beyond the summit, there was Ziba, the steward of Mephibosheth, waiting to meet him. He had a string of donkeys saddled and loaded with two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred cakes of raisins, a hundred cakes of figs and a skin of wine.

The king asked Ziba, “Why have you brought these?”

Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and fruit are for the men to eat, and the wine is to refresh those who become exhausted in the wilderness.”

The king then asked, “Where is your master’s grandson?”

Ziba said to him, “He is staying in Jerusalem, because he thinks, ‘Today the Israelites will restore to me my grandfather’s kingdom.’”

Then the king said to Ziba, “All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.” (II Samuel 16:1-4)

When Ziba lies about his master Mephibosheth, the desperate David unquestionably accepts the false report. He confiscates everything Mephibosheth owns and grants it all to Ziba.

The story continues after David’s victory:

Mephibosheth, Saul’s grandson, also went down to meet the king. He had not taken care of his feet or trimmed his mustache or washed his clothes from the day the king left until the day he returned safely.

When he came from Jerusalem to meet the king, the king asked him, “Why didn’t you go with me, Mephibosheth?”

He said, “My lord the king, since I your servant am lame, I said, ‘I will have my donkey saddled and will ride on it, so I can go with the king.’ But Ziba my servant betrayed me. And he has slandered your servant to my lord the king. My lord the king is like an angel of God; so do whatever you wish. All my grandfather’s descendants deserved nothing but death from my lord the king, but you gave your servant a place among those who eat at your table. So what right do I have to make any more appeals to the king?”

The king said to him, “Why say more? I order you and Ziba to divide the land.”

Mephibosheth said to the king, “Let him take everything, now that my lord the king has returned home safely.” (19:25-31)

Mephibosheth had not bathed his feet, or trend his mustache, or even laundered his clothing from the day that King David had to run from Jerusalem. It was clear to David that Ziba had lied. And yet, King David did not restore all of his property; only half. It was as if Ziba’s false report had planted itself in David’s heart, and the kingdom was unable to let go of his suspicions of Mephibosheth.

The Sages teach that King David was punished for splitting Mephibosheth’s property by planting the seed that would lead to the split of his kingdom after the death of Solomon. A King cannot afford to be stubborn. A King cannot afford to look at a situation only in the way he has in the past. He must be willing to shed any previous convictions and take an entirely new view of all that is before him.

This is not the typical example of stubbornness. This is not a person who is unwilling to consider the other side. This is not someone who is unwilling to change his mind. This is the stubbornness of holding on even to just a smidgen of something he previously believed, without shedding all previous misconceptions.

This is the stubbornness of being unable to let go of resentments. This is the stubbornness that makes it difficult to forgive people who ask our forgiveness with a whole heart after hurting us. There is that seed of doubt that remains in the back of our mind that makes it difficult for us to relate to the person as if the bad had never occurred.

This is the stubbornness that makes it difficult for us to consider a new approach to prayer. This is the stubbornness that makes it difficult for us to plan a different sort of Yom Kippur. So many of us want the same tunes, the same feelings, the same experiences of previous Yom Kippurs, that we cannot adjust to a new way to pray on this most important day.

Did David know how to learn from this mistake? For this we turn to the story of Shimei who verbally attacked King David as he was running from Jerusalem:

As King David approached Bahurim (as he was running for his life before the armies of his rebellious son, Absalom), a man from the same clan as Saul’s family came out from there. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and he cursed as he came out. He pelted David and all the king’s officials with stones, though all the troops and the special guard were on David’s right and left. As he cursed, Shimei said, “Get out, get out, you murderer, you scoundrel! The LORD has repaid you for all the blood you shed in the household of Saul, in whose place you have reigned. The LORD has given the kingdom into the hands of your son Absalom. You have come to ruin because you are a murderer!”

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.”

But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’”

David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the LORD has told him to. It may be that the LORD will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.”

So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt.(II Samuel 16:5-13)

David did not respond to the insults by becoming more stubborn, but by looking deeper into himself. He was able to let go of the insult and view the situation with clarity. King David definitely knew how to avoid the type of stubbornness described above.

He succeeds again after his victory over Absalom:

When Shimei son of Gera crossed the Jordan, he fell prostrate before the king, and said to him, “May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind. 20 For I your servant know that I have sinned, but today I have come here as the first from the tribes of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king.”

Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said, “Shouldn’t Shimei be put to death for this? He cursed God’s anointed.”

David replied, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? What right do you have to interfere? Should anyone be put to death in Israel today? Don’t I know that today I am king over Israel?” So the king said to Shimei, “You shall not die.” And the king promised him on oath. (19:19-24)

And yet…

The story of Shimei always precedes the story of Mephiboshet! King David knew how to rid himself of this type of stubbornness before he made his terrible error! He had all the necessary skills to avoid falling into the trap he did, and yet, he failed.

I suspect that the reason King David failed was because he was desperate to avoid being stubborn: when Ziba appeared without his master, King David recalled that it was Ziba who had initiated contact between David and Mephiboshet. It was Ziba who made the connection, and yet, David turned to Ziba and said to him, “You shall work the land for him, you and your sons and your servants.” David had not awarded Ziba; he made him a permanent slave.

When Ziba appeared to support David during the king’s desperate moments, demonstrating his loyalty despite the fact that he had never been rewarded for helping David, the king, refusing to be stubborn, looked back into the past and decided to repair his previous lack of gratitude to Ziba.

King David was convinced that his decision to reward Ziba was the opposite of stubbornness. For all intents and purposes, it was. However, the Sages understand that when King David does not apologize to Mephibosheth, or explain the reason for his decision, David is being stubborn.

Once King David understood how he had hurt Ziba so long ago, he should have applied the lesson to his dealings with Mephibosheth. His refusal to do so was an expression of Kishinu Oref.

This part of the Vidui address is every single situation in which we do not consider all the lessons we have learned in the past and applies them before acting or speaking. Kishinu Oref describes the subtle the burn determination to hold on to old patterns of behavior.

How can we repair it?

Review one conflict after reviewing all the lessons we have learned about listening, being sensitive, caring, and open-minded. Pinpoint how we could have managed the conflict without that “stubbornness,” and then make a serious effort to repair that one conflict.

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
3
Oct

After Forgiveness

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Relationships

I am convinced that a Shiva call is not considered complete until after the Seven Days of Mourning! The Shiva house is full of people, but then it ends. The mourner is left alone. He has to return to life with his entire world changed, without the support of all the friends who came during Shiva. The call after the Shiva has ended, when the people have left and the house is silent, is when the mourner needs a different type of support. The phone call after Shiva completes the comfort offered during Shiva.

I just finished speaking to a friend two weeks after he got up from Shiva, and I realized that there is a long list of “after” calls to make: not to the people who I visited during Shiva; those calls were made. I have to call all the people of whom I asked forgiveness to show that the request for forgiveness was only the first step. I now have to work at rebuilding relationships I have damaged.

I cannot make my “after” call and pretend all is well because I asked for forgiveness, but I must convey the message that I am determined to repair the relationship. It is only now that the real work begins. Is the relationship important enough to put in all that effort? Is the other party interested? How hard shall I try?

One more thought: Is this what our post Yom Kippur work is? Are we supposed to use our Mitzvot as demonstrations of our commitment to repair our relationship with God? Does the real Yom Kippur work begin after Yom Kippur?

Was that Jonah’s issue with the repentance of the people of Nineveh?

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
27
Sep

Sound Bites: Finding Our Hearts

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Spiritual Growth

“God, your Lord, will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring.” (Deuteronomy 30:6) The first letters of “your heart and the heart of your offspring” spell Elul.

“From heaven God gazed down upon mankind, to see if there exists a reflective person who seeks out God.” (Psalm 53:3)

The Holy One, Blessed is He, searches for the truly righteous person who has achieved greatness through the application of his formidable intellect. God then takes a second look to see whether this person is able to let go of the reason that successfully took him so far and use only his heart to search for God. One who uses only his heart can hear what God demands.

Binah L’Ittim Lecture 12

God uses the Shofar of Elul to circumcise our hearts and cut away anything other than our Emunah Peshuta – Simple Faith – to search for Him.

Author Info: 



Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
27
Sep

One Small Detail

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Spiritual Growth

I spent most of yesterday battling with Land Rover over a receipt. Our car is under warranty and the transmission failed immediately after the engine was replaced. (Long Story!) Land Rover wanted receipts proving that we properly maintained the car and were not the cause of the transmission’s death. We have receipts for maintenance every 3,000 miles, which is impressive as the car has almost 80,000 miles on the odometer.

We even have a receipt for changing the transmission fluid at the 60,000 mile scheduled maintenance. However, we called our mechanic from Land Rover, our car needed some warranty work, and he wrote the date of the call on the work order. The dealer had the car for a few days to make some important repairs, so we didn’t bring the car to our mechanic for a few days.

The work order has the date of the call, not the work. The date is the same day that Land Rover had our car and therefore, Land Rover claims that the receipt is fraudulent and we never changed the transmission fluid and therefore, they are not responsible to replace the transmission.

One detail out of hundreds. They acknowledge that the transmission worked until they had the car for repairs. They acknowledged that they changed the transmission fluid. They acknowledge that the car is a lemon. They acknowledge that we have perfectly maintained the car, except for one detail: The date on the work order is incorrect. That one detail will now cost us almost two thousand dollars to fix the car.

One detail can negate the hundreds of acknowledged positive steps. One detail is sufficient to declare all the established maintenance as invalid. All I can say is: “Thank God, Land Rover is not in charge of the Rosh Hashana Judgment!”

Imagine if God would say, “Well, you have been superb this year except for one detail. All the positive is negated.” None of us could survive a Land Rover judgment.

Details matter. We can lift someone’s spirits with one kind word However, the King’s perspective is Infinite, and each detail is part of a much larger picture.

We also most consider the larger picture of our lives, not the details. What have we become? How have we grown? Where and how do we fit into God’s creation?

God is not defining us by details. Why would we?

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
18
Sep

Master & Servant: The Privilege of Being His Servant

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

“And now God says — He who formed me in the womb to be His servant

to bring Jacob back to Him, and gather Israel to Himself, for I am honored in the eyes of God

and my Lord has been my strength —

He says: “It is too small a thing for you (Israel) to be My servant

to restore the tribes of Jacob

and bring back those of Israel I have kept.

I will also make you a light for the nations,

that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 49:5-6).”

Isaiah describes how he was formed by God in the womb to be His servant so that he would successfully bring Israel back to God. “I am honored in the eyes of God,” it is an honor to be His servant. Yet, God points out that to Israel, “It is too small a thing for you to be My servant.” Isaiah sees it as an honor, but Israel sees being God’s servant as insignificant.

Only when Israel learns from Isaiah how to take pride in being God’s servant will they become, “a light for the nations, that My salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” We must not only become God’s servants, we must take pride in being His servants so that we can achieve the mission of Israel, stressed on Rosh Hashanah, of becoming a light to the nations.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
18
Sep
18
Sep

Joyous Trembling: God as My Advocate

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

“Judge me, Lord, and plead my cause against a nation without passion. Rescue me from those who are deceitful and wicked. You are my Lord, my stronghold.

Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?

Send Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to the mountain of Your holy sanctuary, to the places where You dwell.

Then I will go to the altar of the Lord, to the Power, my joy and my delight. I will praise You with the lyre, O Lord, my Lord.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in the Lord,

for I will yet thank Him,

for He is my deliverance,

the light of my countenance,

and my Lord (Psalms 43).”

David is requesting that God judge him and plead his case! How can the Judge plead the case of the servant?

After his request, David challenges God, “Why have you rejected me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”

David experiences the taunting of those who do not understand his passion as God not advocating for him; he feels that when God does not advocate, He is rejecting David.

David desires God’s light and truth as his guides to finding God, and he is insisting that God’s light and truth will be his advocates.

Rather than respond to the accusations of his enemies as an indication that he is mistaken in his choices, David insists that he is vulnerable because God is not pleading David’s case that all his choices are intended to find God’s light and truth.

King David sees the Judgment as an opportunity for God to vindicate him, plead for him, and allow him to discover God’s light and truth. David surely trembled when placed in judgment, but he was confident that even if he had made serious mistakes, that God would clearly see David’s intentions and desires as part of his search for closeness to God.

King David is confident that the judgment will result in his being able to see God’s light and truth and promises, “Then I will go to the altar of the Lord, to the Power, my joy and my delight. I will praise You with the lyre, O Lord, my Lord.

Once David will experience his Joy in Trembling, he will address his soul and say, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in the Lord, for I will yet thank Him, for He is my deliverance, the light of my countenance, and my Lord.”

This is not a Rosh Hashanah or Teshuvah of tears and mourning, but of rejoicing, a time of discovery and vindication. King David sees the judgment of Rosh Hashanah ending with God as his advocate. This is the, “Serve God with fear, and rejoice with trembling (Psalms 2:11),” of Rosh Hashanah.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
17
Sep

Hearing: Impact

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“But My people did not hear My voice and Israel did not desire Me (Psalms 81:12).” Unfortunately, the dramatic Exodus did not leave a lasting impression upon the people. Immediately afterwards, in the wilderness, they refused to obey God. They continued to neglect God in the days of the judges and during the reign of the kings. (Radak)

The verse teaches that our ability to hear God’s voice is a reflection of our level of desire for God. Because we did not desire God, we did not hear His Voice as we could have, meaning in a way that would have a permanent impact.

The way we hear the Shofar of Elul and Rosh Hashanah is determined by our level of desire to connect to God. If we hear with full desire for a complete attachment to the Creator, we will hear a message that will have a lasting impact on us.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
14
Sep

Tehillim Tools: Elul: Ask Big

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“I am God, your Lord, Who raised you from the land of Egypt, open wide your mouth and I will fill it (Psalms 81:11).” Asked of me all that your heart desires, and I will fulfill every request (Ibn Ezra), on the condition that you hearken to Me. Then you will never know want, hunger, or thirst, just as you were completely provided for one I brought you from Egypt. (Radak)

From these words, the Talmud (Yerushalmi Ta’anit 3:6) derives the halachic principle that the worshiper should supplicate God for all his needs, thereby demonstrating his complete faith in God’s omnipotence and benevolence. The more one asks for God’s help, the wider he opens his mouth, the more he shows that he believes in God’s ability to provide all of a person’s needs.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
14
Sep

Hearing: The Full Message

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

“Listen, My nation, and I will attest to you; O Israel, if you would but listen to Me (Psalms 81:9).” The Midrash (Shir Hashirim 1) says that God’s commanding voice made such a profound impression on them at Sinai that the Evil Inclination was purged from their hearts. After hearing these two commandments, however, Israel grew weak. They panicked and refused to listen to God’s awesome voice. They demanded that Moses to come their intermediary and transmit the remaining eight Commandments to them. At that moment, they ceased to be spellbound by God’s holy words, and the Evil Inclination returned to their hearts.

Therefore, God says, “Oh, Israel, if you had listened to Me there would be no strange god [i.e. Evil Inclination] within you.” (Shevet M’Yisrael)

The Shofar’s voice is the same voice we heard at Sinai. It potentially carries the same power to purge the Evil Inclination from our hearts. We must lease in as if we are being presented with the same choice as the people who stood at Sinai: Will we choose to listen directly to God’s voice? Or, will we be so intimidated that we will, once again, fail to take full advantage of the opportunity.

What do we desire to hear?

How do we desire to hear the Voice of the Shofar?

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share