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#49 Teshuva Clarifies the Mystery of Ourselves and the Secrets of the World
8Collections 1:355; Glimmerings of Penitence 10:3

Every sin prevents the serenity1 of mind required to illuminate secrets of the world.

Teshuva opens channels2 to insightful understanding [of the world]

even as it arrives through insightful understanding [of ourselves]3.’ 4

עברית +/-


  1. Yishuv hada‘at, ‘settledness of mind.’ Yishuv (y-sh-b) is from a mirror-root of Teshuva (sh-vav/y-b), and it, too, carries connotations of two-ness that is resolved into wholeness: the healing into unity of a mindset that was once characterized by splitness and doubt. Back to text
  2. Potachat pitchei bina, literally, ‘opens entranceways of Bina, insightful knowing.’ Back to text
  3. HaTeshuva potachat pitchei bina keShem sheHi’ ba’ah ‘al yedei haBina. In Kabbala, Teshuva is associated with the sefira of Bina, a mode of knowing different from Chochma (wisdom). Bina is associative, one thought birthing another; related, yet distinct. See, e.g., Rashi on Prov. 4:7 and Rashi on Deut. 1:13, Nevonim: mevinim davar mitoch davar, which is usually translated as ‘understanding one thing from another,’ but may be closer to ‘understanding one thing from the inner content or dynamic (the toch) of another thing’: insight arising from all forms of inference, analogy, and metaphor. Bina is considered a female mode of understanding, and woman is said to have been imbued with more of it than man (Nidd. 45b). Its associated organ is the heart. (See, e.g., Is. 6:10.) That Teshuva follows the awakening of Bina is mirrored in the order of their related blessings in the ‘Amida prayer. (See Meg. 17b.) That Bina, clarity, and creativity result from Teshuva is described in Glimmering #60, “The Experiential Outcome of the Teshuva Process.” For another Mobius strip-like quality of Teshuva, ourselves, and the world, see the end of Glimmering #31, “Complete Teshuva Requires a Re-understanding of the Universe”: “Teshuva arises from a lucid assessment of a world clearly explained, and it itself clarifies and elucidates the world with its power.” Back to text
  4. For the unity of inner and outer worlds, see Glimmering #9, “The Human Soul as Cosmic Hologram.” Back to text
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