There's a realm even the righteous cannot touch * Teshuvah: more than just saying sorry . * On Tanya for 3 Elul.
The timeless wisdom of the Tanya permeates with insights that are as potent today as they were centuries ago. One such profound revelation from today's entry reminds us, "In the place where penitents stand, [even the perfectly righteous do not stand]." This is not merely an adage, but an audacious assertion: Repentance, or teshuvah, isn't just about rectifying wrongs. It's about attaining a spiritual altitude unparalleled even by the righteous.
The Talmud in Berachot 34b lends weight to this view, reiterating the distinction and esteem associated with those who have journeyed back from wayward paths. Imagine an elite club, reserved for those who have traversed the roughest terrains, only to emerge stronger and wiser. Rambam, in his Hilchot Teshuvah, elucidates further, emphasizing the singular luminosity that emerges from sincere repentance, a glow even the truly righteous cannot emulate.
Now, picture a renowned artist who has always excelled in his craft. Then, one day, he makes a glaring mistake in his masterpiece. Rather than discarding it, he uses his skills and creativity to transform that error into the most captivating part of the work, earning even more acclaim. This is akin to the journey of a penitent. The transformation from an error to a highlight, a shortcoming to strength, is the marvel of teshuvah.
Anticipation of the era of Moshiach isn't just about global redemption. It's about personal redemption too. Just as the world anticipates a state of universal perfection, each individual possesses the potential for personal rectification and elevation through teshuvah.
What then, is the take-away for us in our hustle and bustle of the modern world? It's this: Every misstep can be a stepping stone. Every fall, an opportunity for a greater rise. The door to spiritual greatness isn't just open to those who've never faltered, but especially wide for those who've faltered and found their way back.
As the sun sets and a new day dawns, let it be a reminder of the ever-present chance for a new start, for rising higher, and for achieving an elevation even the righteous might envy. It's not about where we've been, but where we can go. And with teshuvah, that destination knows no bounds.