Beit T'Shuvah Blog » Elul

The Big Lie–Elul #8

One of the traps we fall into is our feeling sad. While there is a great deal to be sad about: loss, death, disappointment, our own errors, the hurts of others, etc; we have to keep this sadness in proper measure. When sadness is out of proper measure, we descend into despair. Rabbi Nachman calls this type of sadness the worst sin. Sadness/despair allows us to be hopeless and become victims. This sadness and despair allows us to tolerate the darkness that we and others bring into the world. It gives reason to our inactivity, our passivity and our engaging in negativity. This is the sadness that says “nothing will change” “why bother” “I don’t matter”, etc. It allows us to stay stuck and believe that we are powerless and … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Elul, Judaism, Mark Borovitz, Sobriety, Temple, Torah

The Lies I Tell Myself-Elul #7

Doing this inventory this year has pointed out to me the subtleties of our age. The Rabbis of old were very wise when they made the Ashamnu Prayer. The first word, Ashamnu, means guilty. The entire prayer is called a Confessional. The second word, Bagadnu, I have translated as betrayal, it also means stolen. Both of these words have the same essence. In order to steal, I have to betray and in order to betray, I have stolen. Yet, in our age of “not taking responsibility, we can acknowledge the feelings another person has of our betrayal while not confessing to our betrayal. I have confessed to my earlier betrayals in my book, The Holy Thief. I also have and do confess to my betraying the trust others put in me … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Elul, Judaism, Mark Borovitz, Spirituality, Torah

Go With Your Gut–Elul #6

Continuing our “getting clean,” I want to talk about knowing ourselves better. This is the point of T’Shuvah.  T’Shuvah is the path to self-awareness and self-love. It may seem strange to use our “missing the marks” as the path to awareness but it is the truest form, I believe. In looking at our “missing the marks” as ways to fail forward, we can find new ways to repair old actions and have a plan to do things differently in the future. This takes our past “errors” and makes them into paths of growth.   One of the areas that needs growth is our intuition. I believe what many of us call intuition is really our soul speaking to us. Intuition is called “gut instinct” by some of us. A little known fact … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Elul, Judaism, Mark Borovitz, Spirituality, Temple, Torah

Getting Clean During Elul #5

As we continue the work of T’Shuvah, I want to focus for a moment on really “getting clean.” Atonement is getting rid of the outer impurity/negativity. Taharah, “getting clean”, is the process of ridding ourselves of the inner impurity. Without “getting clean” we keep the inner contamination that impairs our Spiritual Integrity. Anything that impairs our Spiritual Integrity will lead us back to old behaviors and paths of negativity.   We have to break the patterns of negativity. Neuroscience calls this, “making new neural pathways in the brain” that will change our thinking and behaving. Our tradition teaches us to act our way into right thinking. We are not bound by our first thoughts and impulses. We have choice; many of us who continue to RE-ACT in old ways are denying our … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Elul, Judaism, Mark Borovitz, Spirituality, T'Shuvah, Torah

Getting Clean During Elul #4

One of the most important aspects of TShuvah is that it restores the dignity that each person is born with. We all have infinite dignity and worth. We all have a unique purpose and dignity as well. When we harm another, we betray the dignity and worth that they possess and our own dignity and worth also. Since each of us is created in the Image of God, harming another means that we are not seeing their Tzelem, their Divine Image. TShuvah restores this dignity to all entities. It is more than saying “I’m sorry.” It is the way of saying “I have hurt you, I made you an object and denied your Infinite Worth and Dignity. This is my admission of this crime and here is how I am going … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Elul, Mark Borovitz, Spirituality, Torah

Getting Clean During Elul #3

There are two kinds of Tshuvah: 1)    Getting rid of guilt- this is when we atone for our errors, make restitution, etc. 2)    Being Clean- this is when we cut ourselves off from the behaviors, after we have done number 1.   Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz calls this severance. The words that we say to ourselves are ‘these past actions are no longer a part of me even though historically and chronologically they may be true, they no longer have power over me’. This is an important part of TShuvah. Without severing ourselves from the prior bad acts, we carry them along with us as old dirty laundry or as barnacles on a boat and they weigh us down. Without severance from these prior bad acts, we will never believe we are clean and new. … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Elul, Mark Borovitz, Sobriety, Spirituality, T'Shuvah

Getting Clean During Elul #2

T’Shuvah starts with being open to the possibility of change, the desire to change and the commitment to change. I begin each Elul with the prayer, Adonai, Adonai. This is found in Exodus after the Golden Calf incident. Many people think that this is a plea to God to remember to be compassionate and kind. I believe it is a plea to ourselves to have the commitment to truth, empathy and repair. I chant this prayer as a mantra for 5-10 minutes in order to put myself into a state of Grace so that I can be honest and truthful with myself. After I attain this state, I begin to write my Chesbon HaNefesh, my accounting of my soul. I have to see all of myself, good and not so … Read entire article »

Filed under: addiction, Beit T'Shuvah, Elul, Judaism, Mark Borovitz, Temple, Torah

Getting Clean During Elul

Yesterday was the first day of Elul, the month prior to Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. This month is when we traditionally do our inventories of the past year. We set up a balance sheet, listing the things we have done well and the areas where we “missed” the mark. Each day I am going to write a way to do our personal inventory and count down to being clean and ready for Yom Kippur with joy and excitement to re-commit to our relationship with God, our community and ourselves. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Beit T'Shuvah, Elul, Judaism, Mark Borovitz, T'Shuvah, Torah

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