baby hand

One of the basic tenets of coming back to God is confession. (Maimonides, Laws of Repentance 1:1). In Torah 178 Rebbe Nachman astutely acknowledges that there are many impediments holding us back from articulating our mistakes. Sometimes we forget them or sometimes they weigh so heavily on us that it’s hard to admit in words. So what can we do to ensure that we confess our misdeeds and be forgiven?

You’re not gonna believe this…

The Rebbe says we need to arouse in ourselves the joy of the mitzvah of confession. What joy is there in admitting fault? Am I supposed to sing and dance because I sinned? That not only sounds weird but it sounds insensitive. Here I severed a very special relationship with my actions and now I’m overjoyed in admitting it?

Here’s how I understand it. We’re not happy that we caused a breach in our relationship with God. But we should be happy that he gave us a way to come back to Him. It’s a pleasure, comfort and relief that we can be forgiven for the mistakes we made.

A little bit different from how we always picture confession.


He goes on to say that the root of all the mitzvos is joy. What an amazing statement! A Mitzvah means to connect or join with Hashem. There is no greater joy than being attached to our God. The core of every mitzvah is joy, even the seemingly sad ones, such as confession or the prescribed mourning period. Because of Hashem’s great kindness, he guides us with tools to come close to Him in any situation. That’s reason to be very happy.

I’d like to take this one step deeper. Rav Tzadok Hakohen writes (Takanas Hashavin page 39): “The essence of returning to God is understanding that your mistakes become your merits. Meaning, that you fully recognize and understand that every one of your sins was also the will of God”. (Now clearly this statement can be misunderstood. If all my sins are the will of God, then why should I even attempt not to sin? This is a deep question with a good answer, but it’s beyond the scope of this article). But what he’s teaching is that there’s nothing else besides the will of God. Therefore, although – of course – we need to protect the mitzvos with all our might, if we disregard them it was God’s will that we neglected them. That’s real teshuva, affixing oneself to the oneness of God. This can also be what Rebbe Nachman finds joyous in confession. We wish we didn’t mess up but now that we did, we utterly accept that everything was under his direction and providence. That awareness attaches us to God and is reason to be merry!



One thought on “Coming clean

  1. Wanna share with you something I wrote to my students.. [8:12AM, 28/09/2017] Rivka Fix: In the meantime I can tell you a thought I had about yom kippur [8:13AM, 28/09/2017] Rivka Fix: When someone apologizes to the other person or forgives another person there are 2 different places Oy can be coming from [8:14AM, 28/09/2017] Rivka Fix: In one scenario, the person apologizes because “you are upset with me, and I need to make you feel better” or forgives another because “you apologized and you feel bad so I will be gracious to you and forgive you” [8:16AM, 28/09/2017] Rivka Fix: In another scenario one apologized because “you are upset with me and I don’t want to be weighed down by baggage. It is in my best interest to appease you so that I don’t have conflict and strained relationships weighing me down” and forgives because “I was hurt by what you did but, I don’t want to allow the hurt to continue. I want to move on and be free from the negativity this is causing, so i forgive you” [8:20AM, 28/09/2017] Rivka Fix: Many of us go into yom Kippur feeling that we are apologizing to Hashem because He is upset with us and we need to appease him’ when in truth yom Kippur is the biggest gift from Hashem to us. He provides us with an OPPERTUNITY to rid ourselves of baggage and relationship strain so that we do not have any blocks and are free to reconnect with him and feel the truth of our neshama and hear our own inner voice and guide more clearly as the sins that we do all year create blockages between us and that voice within. [8:27AM, 28/09/2017] Rivka Fix: When I thunk of it like that I am so grateful for yom Kippur, because if my neshama has all the answers that I ever need in life,(which it does because it is in fact a piece of G-D) then if I had access to that voice I would always be calm and happy and never worry cause I would have all the answers. But, each time I sin I cause a blockage and seperation between myself and that voice and I therefore experience confusion, doubt, fear, worry, and suffering. If I didn’t have yom Kippur then each year I would get progressively more distanced from my inner truth and woukd experience more fear and suffering than the year before. Yom Kippur, if I utilize the day, allows me to shed the layers of sin that are creating the rift between me and my soul and brings me back in touch with it and the truth and answers it has to offer me. (like when you get water in your ear and you can’t hear anything. And then suddenly the water clears out and you hear again.. That’s how I envision the experience of yom Kippur) IyH at the end of this yom Kippur we should all feel in a very real way the clarity that our neshama holds for us and we shoukd be able to carry it through for as long as possible without covering it up again with sins. [8:27AM, 28/09/2017] Rivka Fix: Have a gmar chasima tova!

    I thought you might enjoy this thought.


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