Elul Reflections 15 – September 6

Rabbi Sarah DePaolo

Maimonides taught that in order for a person to successfully complete the process of t’shuvah, she must confront the same situation in which she erred, or find himself in a situation when he has the potential to transgress again, and, “abstains and does not commit it because of T’shuvah alone” (Mishneh Torah, T’shuvah 2:1).

How many times have we made a mistake, told ourselves we would never do that again, and then a week, a year, maybe even a decade later we find ourselves making the same mistake again? The process of repentance does not end when we say we are sorry, but rather when we change our behavior. So how do we break the cycle of atoning for the same missteps year after year? By engaging in a process of self-reflection and taking an honest accounting of our soul, so that when we apologize with our words we also apologize in our deeds. As the old cliche about writing goes: we show, don’t tell that we have changed, and then we can finally start anew.

Here is a bonus from Rabbi David Wolpe from last week’s Torah portion, Ki Teitzei – the meaning of Amalek


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