Teshuva for Eemas=SMILE!

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After a Rosh Hashana spent engaging in quite a bit of self-flagellation, it brought tears to my eyes to read a very different and even revolutionary approach to Teshuva/repentance in Rabbi Shalom Arush’s long-awaited newly released book just for WOMEN (Rabbi Arush is also the author of the bestselling, JewishMOM must-read book Garden of Emuna).

The English translation to חוכמות נשים (Women’s Wisdoms) will be coming out in a few months, but in the meantime, I am so thrilled to be sharing the first translated taste of this wonderful and inspiring book with all of you. May these ideas empower us to spend this coming Yom Kippur engaged in less self-flagellation and more self-love.

Rabbi Arush writes:

You ask what you should do teshuva (repentance) for?  Smile! That is the teshuva you need to do. Because doing teshuva means to smile…

Rebbe Nachman teaches: “The main aspect of repentance (teshuva) is to subdue the negative outlook and to choose instead a positive outlook.” We see something incredible here, how Rebbe Nachman is teaching us something that totally contradicts what the majority of people think—that the main aspect of repentance is to be broken and depressed, etc. G-d forbid. Because the evil inclination tells a person that repentance means to see the evil inside herself, and to be depressed and sad. But the Torah teaches us that the exact opposite is in fact the truth…

…before a woman begins to think about speaking to G-d (hitbodedut) as a spiritual accounting of her bad deeds (cheshbon hanefesh) or repentance, she must first of all choose the positive outlook over the negative outlook, which she accomplishes through searching and finding within herself her own positive attributes so that she can feel happy with herself.

Only after she has a positive outlook and feels happiness and joy, only then can she begin the other kinds of speaking with G-d: confession, repentance, a spiritual accounting of her bad deeds, correction of character traits etc.

This is the general rule: as long a woman does not feel happy with herself, it is forbidden for her to do anything but search for her own positive attributes. And this is her repentance at this point, and this is the service that G-d wants her to perform. Because the Creator wants first of all for a person to be happy…

Therefore, every woman needs to set this up as a rule for herself that she never breaks: the first thing she must do when she speaks with G-d (hitbodedut) is to find her good points and to feel happy about herself, until she can say with all her heart: “I am good! G-d loves me!  G-d is happy with me and with the way I serve Him! G-d gets nachas from me! I am full of good desires, etc, etc.” And even if this takes up the whole hour that she is talking with G-d, and even if this continues for days and years, she must invest all of her time speaking with G-d on this one point, and not move onto any other point until she is truly happy.”

Reprinted with permission from the newly released book חכמות נשים (Women’s Wisdoms) selections taken from pages 338-341 by Rabbi Shalom Arush (with the approbation of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef). To order or distribute the book, please contact 972522240696, or in Israel 052-2240696. Or visit www.MyEmuna.com

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