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|Joe The Stockbroker|
|Written by Michael|
|Thursday, 08 August 2013|
We have mentioned that a person who desires to learn Torah without the willingness to abandon a life of sin will not benefit by the Torah's healing power. In the light of Rabbi Kook's teachings, let's follow a young stockbroker, Joe, to a class in Jewish mysticism, and see what is taking place in his soul.
First of all, though Joe might have been a top student at Princeton, his intellectual faculty has been distorted by sin. He may be a whiz in math, but his moral sensitivities are dull. Because of the essential unity of existence, his spiritual darkness also darkens the light of the mind. On the most basic level, he does not know the difference between right and wrong. Sure, he knows that murder is evil, but other sins, including serious transgressions, like gazing at forbidden images or engaging in malicious gossip, do not seem so bad. In many instances, his moral wrongdoings do not seem like sins at all (Orot HaT'shuva, 10:4).
Rabbi Kook explains that the dulling of Joe's intelligence is due, not only to his own sins, but to the polluted and errant values of the society to which he belongs. These distorted mores are caused by the general sins of the community. Though the word of G-d is always present, in Torah, in religion, in tradition, and in the exquisite orderings of heaven and earth, the immoral norms of society act as a barrier, blocking the Heavenly light. Because Joe has become detached from Divine ideals as a result of his sins and the sins of society, he has become prey to the darker forces of life and to his weaker self. He lacks the moral fortitude to hold himself back from sin. It is only through the purification of t'shuva that his will for goodness can be strengthened and his clarity of thought restored (Ibid).
When Joe attends a class in Torah and confronts its sparkling light, if he is a true seeker who truly desires a higher enlightenment, he will sense his inner darkness and reach out for the deliverance that only t'shuva can bring. Though there be wrongdoings which he cannot address at the moment, whether through spiritual weakness or practical impediments, the Torah that he continues to learn will bring clarity to his thinking and fortify his will, providing him with the moral resolve which he presently lacks.
If Joe feels a joy in the learning of Torah, if he is able to clearly grasp its deep, mystical concepts, then his t'shuva is real (Ibid, 10:2). With each sin that is corrected, additional vistas of learning open before him. The most supreme enlightenment comes when he realizes in all of his being that cleaving to G-d is the greatest joy in life. Reaching this level, he will experience a profound humbleness, for, "How can any person feel an egotistical pride when he stands before the Source of all perfection, before the infinite light that transcends all blessings and praises?" (Ibid, 10:4).
When Joe, the stockbroker, realizes that t'shuva makes the world go round, and not the New York Stock Exchange, he has truly become a baal t'shuva.
Prayer From The Heart
It is impossible to speak about the relationship between t'shuva and Torah without mentioning the vital importance of prayer. Often, in the light of the Torah, when confronted by one's wrongdoings and moral impurity, one longs for a far reaching t'shuva which is clearly beyond one's immediate grasp. At times, this great leap forward cannot be actualized until it is accompanied by heartfelt prayer. It is prayer which opens the stream of Divine assistance which is needed to overcome weakness and fear, hurdle over chasms of darkness, and redress every transgression of the past, so that ever new perceptions can be grasped. King David was a master of t'shuva and a master of prayer. To this day, his Tehillim are our ladders to G-d.To summarize, the more you learn Torah, the more t'shuva you will be inspired to do - and the more t'shuva you do, the more Torah you are able to learn.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 August 2013 )|
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