Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik on Teshuva

Posted on | December 7, 2005 | By Steve Brizel | 3 Comments

Gershon Seif asked and suggested how RYBS viewed Teshuvah MeAhavah and Teshuvah MeYirah. IIRC, RYBS suggested the exactly opposite ideas in Al HaTshuvah but refrained from saying which was better or preferable. To all of those who are blogging here, please excuse my posts if they appear overly opinionated.

Comments

3 Responses to “Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik on Teshuva”

  1. Gershon Seif
    December 7th, 2005 @ 4:59 pm

    ??? Your post confuses me. I offerd two opposite alternatives. Which one did RYBS say? I’d like to know. Lets not talk in riddles.

  2. Gershon Seif
    December 7th, 2005 @ 5:11 pm

    Just found this out there on the web. Now I get it.

    The Rov explains that there are two ways to repent: one can either blot out their sins, or rectify and elevate them. Blotting out one’s sins means eradicating one’s past completely. Instead of looking back on years of transgressions, an individual makes a clean break with the past and obliterates all negative memories. When this person does Teshuvah — when this person “returns” — he returns to where he stood prior to sinning. The second way to repent is completely different. This way actually requires one to remember their sins. Keeping past sins in the forefront of one’s mind can propel a person to new heights. The intensity of sin, and the sense of guilt and shame that overwhelms a person in its wake, drives the penitent in the direction of Hashem. When this person does Teshuvah — when this person “returns” — he does not return to a more positive version of himself. He returns to the Creator of the universe.

    So RYBS is saying that the guilt and shame are the driving force behind the heights this person will climb. As opposed to what I was suggesting… that the past “sins” are just expressions of the persons persona whichwere used the wrong way. After Teshuvah MAhava, a person learns to direct those elemens of himself to good use.

    No question about it, I’m definately saying a completely different thing.

  3. The Golem of Blog
    December 7th, 2005 @ 8:22 pm

    another way of looking at it – for many years I was a successful figure in the entertainment industry with the whole enchilada of that lifestyle – trips to Europe, parties, backstage passes, etc. when I did t’shuva I began to assess the extraordinarily shallow narcissistic lifestyle that I came from. But now as a rav, I find that those very experiences give me a level of credibility and entree with the kids I work with as in “wow- you used to hang out with the Grateful Dead – way cool” that is the meaning of z’donosov nahafchos lzachyos” – that what was once my “baggage” hass been elevated to a higher purpose (Reish Lakish would be proud)

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