Updated: Jul 18
We should not despair or feel ashamed of our past sins, but rather use them as opportunities to grow closer to G-d and serve Him with more passion and joy. * Moshiach will reveal the hidden goodness and holiness of every Jew, and show how their sins were actually part of G-d’s plan. * On Tanya for 4 Tammuz.
by Bing AI
Today's Tanya¹ tells us that one who repents out of love for G-d transforms his sins into merits. This means that the negative deeds he committed in the past become sources of positive energy and reward, as if he had performed mitzvot instead. This is because his repentance reveals a deeper level of his soul, which is always connected to G-d and never sinned. By returning to G-d with love, he elevates his past actions and reveals their hidden goodness.
This teaches us that repentance is not only a way of correcting our mistakes and cleansing our souls, but also a way of revealing our true essence and potential. We should not despair or feel ashamed of our past sins, but rather use them as opportunities to grow closer to G-d and serve Him with more passion and joy. We should realize that G-d loves us unconditionally and accepts us as we are, and that He wants us to love Him back with all our heart.
A Chassidic tale² that illustrates this point is the story of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, one of the great disciples of the Maggid of Mezeritch. He was once traveling with his wagon driver, Reb Berish, who was a simple but devout Jew. Along the way, they stopped at an inn for the night. The innkeeper was a coarse and wicked man, who had abandoned Judaism and lived a life of sin.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak tried to speak to him and inspire him to repent, but the innkeeper refused to listen. He mocked the rabbi and his teachings, and said that he was happy with his lifestyle and had no regrets. He said that he had done every sin imaginable, and that there was no hope for him anyway.
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was saddened by his words, but did not give up. He asked him: "Tell me, my brother, is there anything that you regret doing? Anything that you wish you could undo?" The innkeeper thought for a moment, and then said: "Well, there is one thing. Once, I was traveling with a group of bandits, and we came across a Jewish wedding. We decided to rob the guests and ruin the celebration. We burst into the hall, where we saw the bride and groom under the canopy. I was so filled with evil that I grabbed the bride by her veil and dragged her away from her groom. I wanted to violate her in front of everyone, but then I saw her face. She was so beautiful and pure, and she looked at me with such fear and pain, that I felt a pang of remorse. I let her go and ran away. That is the only thing I regret doing."
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak was shocked by his story, but he also saw a glimmer of hope. He said to him: "My brother, do you know what you have just done? You have just repented out of love! You have just expressed your regret for hurting another Jew, and for transgressing G-d's will! Do you know what this means? It means that all your sins have been transformed into merits! It means that you have a share in the World to Come! It means that you are a tzaddik!"
The innkeeper was stunned by these words. He could not believe what he heard. He asked Rabbi Levi Yitzchak: "Is this true? Can this be? How can this be?" Rabbi Levi Yitzchak assured him that it was true, and explained to him the concept of repentance out of love from the Tanya. He told him that G-d's mercy is infinite, and that He can turn darkness into light, and bitterness into sweetness.
The innkeeper was moved to tears by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak's words. He felt a surge of love for G-d and for his fellow Jews. He asked Rabbi Levi Yitzchak to teach him how to pray and observe the mitzvot. He decided to change his life completely and follow the path of Torah and chassidut.
The next morning, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak and Reb Berish continued their journey. Reb Berish asked Rabbi Levi Yitzchak: "Rebbe, I don't understand. How can it be that all his sins became merits? How can it be that he is now a tzaddik? He did so many terrible things!" Rabbi Levi Yitzchak answered him: "My son, you don't understand the power of repentance out of love. You don't understand the power of a Jewish soul. You don't understand the power of G-d's love."
This story shows us how Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev revealed the power of repentance out of love to the innkeeper, and how he transformed his life. He did not judge him or reject him, but rather saw the good in him and awakened his soul. He showed him that G-d loves him and forgives him, and that he can love G-d and serve Him with joy.
We can learn from this example to have compassion and hope for ourselves and others, and to realize that no one is beyond redemption. We can use our past sins as springboards for higher levels of service and connection to G-d. We can reveal the true essence and potential of our souls, which are always pure and holy.
This is also related to the coming of Moshiach, who will bring the ultimate redemption to the world. The Talmud³ says that Moshiach will come when all the souls of Israel will be refined and return to G-d. This means that every Jew has a role to play in bringing Moshiach, by repenting and revealing his or her soul. The Zohar says that in the era of Moshiach, G-d will remove the spirit of impurity from the earth, and all the sins of Israel will be turned into merits. This means that Moshiach will reveal the hidden goodness and holiness of every Jew, and show how their sins were actually part of G-d's plan.
Therefore, we should not wait for Moshiach to come and transform us, but rather we should transform ourselves now by repenting out of love. We should not let our sins hold us back, but rather use them as opportunities to grow closer to G-d and serve Him with more passion and joy. We should realize that G-d loves us unconditionally and accepts us as we are, and that He wants us to love Him back with all our heart. By doing so, we will hasten the coming of Moshiach, who will reveal the true essence and potential of our souls, which are always connected to G-d and never sinned.