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Practical Steps to Being Better Tomorrow

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

During the Ten Days of Teshuvah, it is a propitious time to do teshuvah because G-d is close to us. He is like a King who has left his palace and is “touring the country.”[1] In my Elul post, I wrote about how to do teshuvah. Although there are different opinions on the order, the essential elements are:

  1. Admit- admit aloud to ourselves and to G-d that we made a mistake (for instance in how we treated others or G-d).

  2. Regret- regret the mistake.

  3. Commit- commit to not repeating the mistake, which includes taking proper precautions to prevent it from happening again.[2]

In Torah, there is an idea that we should not only turn away from bad, but we should also pursue good.[3] After doing teshuvah, we have a clean slate. How do we prevent ourselves from falling back into bad habits and making the same mistakes? By learning Torah and specifically works of mussar or character refinement-ideally for five or ten minutes each day.[4]

Book Suggestions:

  1. Lights Along The Way (The classic mussar work, Mesillas Yesharim, (Path of the Just), with the relatable and illuminating commentary of Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.)

  2. Positive Word Power (The Torah’s wisdom on speech and human interaction arranged for daily study; a few minutes a day but very powerful)

  3. Loving Kindness (Daily lessons in the power of giving from a Torah perspective)

[1] Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D., Twerski on Machzor, “The Ten Days of Repentance,” p. 10 (quoting “Seek Hashem when He can be found, call Him when He is near (Isaiah 55:6) which the Talmud says refers to the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Rosh Hashanah 18a)).

[2] Rabbi Yaacov Hillel, Ascending Jacob’s Ladder, p. 17

[3] Tehillim (Psalms) 34:15 (“Turn away from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.”)

[4] The Arizal, as told by Rabbi Vosoghi, Los Angeles.

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