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The Judaism of Tomorrow
My Rav Kook
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#43 You're Not in It Alone
Glimmerings of Penitence 8:16

When it first occurs to a person,

even just as a thought,

to turn round in full repentance and mend his actions and emotions,

he must not lose heart from the fact that he becomes panicked by the abundance of his sins,

which become more perceptible to him [following his thought of repentance].

For this is exactly how the process works1:

as long as a person is pursued by the stormwind of his coarser nature

and by the darkness of the bad habits that encircle him,

he doesn’t feel his sins all that much,

and sometimes he doesn’t feel them at all, and even seems a saint in his own eyes2;

but the moment his moral sense awakens, his soul-light appears,

and by this light his whole self becomes open to his inspection and he sees all its stains,

and his heart frets with enormous anxiety

over the scantiness of his integrity and the depth of his fall.

But it is precisely at this moment that he must take to heart that this seeing [of his sins],

and the anxiety that accompanies it,

are themselves the very best of signs3,

bringing him the good news of the assistance of eternity in his process of spiritual self-repair,

and due to this he will be greatly strengthened [on his journey] by God, his Lord.

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Footnotes

  1. Ki kach hu teva‘ haDavar, literally, ‘this is the nature of the matter.’ Back to text
  2. Job 32:1 Back to text
  3. See Glimmering #100, “Holy Worry.” Back to text
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