Jewish Sexuality dot Com
|Everything Seems To Be Going Wrong|
|Written by Tzvi Fishman|
|Thursday, 17 September 2009|
I have been trying to do tshuva (repentance) for my sexual transgressions by going to the mikvah, reciting tikunim, learning more Torah, and doing other things suggested on your site, but things in my life seem to be getting worse – problems with my son in school, expensive repairs to my car, blow-ups with my wife, a chronic pain in my lower back, etc. etc. etc. I thought things were supposed to get better?
Things are getting better! That’s how the tshuva process works. All of the sufferings and pains you are experiencing are part of the atonement a person has to go through to purge himself of the stains left by his sins. The sufferings are like laundry detergent which is needed to clean a soiled garment. Sometimes, with especially difficult stains, a special stain remover is needed too. This is what King David means when he says: “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Tehillim, 51:9). We experience the sufferings as painful, but they are really for our betterment. When lots of things seem to be going wrong, that’s a sign that the cleansing is accelerating, and your tshuva is reaching higher levels. Remember, according to the rules, the punishment for sexual transgression can be death at the hands of Heaven, or “keret,” meaning excision, or being cut off before one’s time, for a man and his children, may G-d have mercy on us. However, G-d, in His Kindness, acts with compassion, beyond the letter of the law. Instead of dealing out one devastating, knock-out blow, that would finish the transgressor on the spot, He breaks the punishment up into small doses that the person can bear, while giving him more time to repent. These are the pains and anguish we experience when the school principal calls us for a meeting about an unruly child, or when we have marital strife, or medical problems, G-d forbid. In truth, instead of complaining, we should be happy about them, since they spare us from a far worse fate.
Also, instead of getting angry at our disobedient child, or at our spouse’s tantrums, we should realize that we are to blame. It is our transgressions, and the evil spiritual forces which are created by them, that drive our spouse and children to act out the way they do.
Regarding expensive car repairs and the like, the Arizal states that a person should undertake 84 fasts for a single case of spilling semen in vain. Multiple transgressions are atoned by a series of 3 cycles of 84 fasts. In our times of spiritual and physical weakness, we cannot do this, and instead of excessive fasting, there are Sages who recommend the giving of charity instead (See “Igeret HaTshuva” of the Baal HaTanya, Ch.3). Often, if we don’t give enough tzedaka in atonement, G-d’s collects His dues via parking tickets, car repairs, and expensive visits to the dentist. This also is a part of the cleansing process.
So be assured that your tshuva process is in high gear, and you are heading toward a new, healthier connection to G-d, stripped of the barriers brought about by your wrongdoings of the past (going all the way back to you youth).Don’t despair. You are on the right track. All your sufferings are coming to make you a holier and happier person. If you can learn to thank G-d for the sufferings, as well as for the “good” things in life, your tshuva will be upgraded immensely to the supreme level of tshuva out of love, and you will be blessed with an illuminating wisdom (daat), realizing that everything that happens to you is truly for your betterment and good.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 17 September 2009 )|
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