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Breaking-down the Task

קברו של רבי זושא, בעיר אניפולי שבאוקראינה

We are in the middle of the ten days of repentance. In the practical world, we break big tasks into smaller tasks. This is exactly what Rabbi Zusha of Hanipol teaches us to do in the spiritual realm as well. He broke repentance ( תשובה =  "TESHUVAH") down for us, into smaller parts, smaller tasks, initial letters:

ת – תָּ מִים תִּהְיֶה עִם ה' אֱלֹהֶיך

Thou shalt be whole-hearted with the LORD thy God.

ש – שִׁ וִּיתִי ה' לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד

I have set the LORD always before me; surely He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

ו – וְ אָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

ב – בְּ כָל-דְּרָכֶיךָ דָעֵהוּ

In all thy ways acknowledge Him.

ה – הַ צְנֵעַ לֶכֶת עִם-אֱלֹהֶיךָ

Walk humbly with thy God.

Rabbi Zusha breaks Teshuvah down into several gateways, and makes it closer and more accessible. And perhaps this is not just about these five tasks, but there may be an additional statement here : there are different ways to achieve change. We do not have to panic at what initially seems a daunting amount of work needed to do Teshuva. We can and we should find different gateways and paths which speak to each and every one of us.


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