Monday, March 24, 2008
Reb Tzadok on Why One Must Always Revisit the Sins of the Past
Rav Tzadok Hakohen, in Tzidkus Hatzadik #67, says that no matter how high of a level a person reaches, and even though he has done teshuva for his aveiros, he must always revisit his sins.
This idea comes from Tehilim 51:5, where it says "וְחַטָּאתִי נֶגְדִּי תָמִיד," "and my sin is always before me." Even though Hashem has accepted his teshuva completely, he must still recall and do teshuva for his sins. This is because such a person never remains static. One should always be growing and ascending from level to level.
Therefore, one's conduct in this world should reflect that which the Arizal said about life in Gan Eden. He says that every time one ascends to a highter and greater level in Gan Eden, "they" are more particular with him about his aveiros and he is punished for even the smallest sin. I read this to mean that certain things are not a sin at all, and may even be considered mitzovs to one who is on a lower level. However, the same things which may have been fine for a lower level person are far beneath that same person which he reaches a higher level. Therefore, things which weren't sins earlier in his growth become sins which require kapara and teshuva in the world to come.
Similarly in this world, one can cleanse himself of the "new sins" that develop in one's past by continually doing teshuva for things that may not have been a problem before, but become problematic to have in one's "record" as his level becomes higher.
He says this is the reason for "Yerida l'tzorech aliya." When Shamayim becomes medakdeik on a person for aveiros that only become an issue because of the person's aliya, that is called a time of "yerida." One must do teshuva for those things at such a time, and that will be the aliya that was precipitated by the "yerida."
Furthermore, Rav Tzadok writes in #57 that the regret and anguish that one feels because of his aveiros constitutes the literal punishment of Geheinom. That is why the Gemara says in Brachos 12b, "כל העושה דבר עבירה ומתבייש בו מוחלין לו על כל עונותיו," "Anyone who does an aveira and is embarrased because of it, all of his sins are forgiven." Rav Tzadok explains that this is because of the aforementioned principal that Agmas Nefesh, anguish one feels because of his aveiros, literally consitutes Geheinom.
This principal is why one's teshuva for "newfound" aveiros that only become an issue when he becomes greater is effective in getting rid of those daduskideh, subtle, aveiros. Of course, the same principal would ostensibly apply to regular, gasusdikeh, big time, aveiros as well and one should feel regret and anguish about his aveiros. We should know, based on this Tzidkus Hatzadik, that this feeling its self is mechaper for our aveiros.
Baruch Hashem that He gave us so many ways and opportunities to rid ourselves of our shmootz that keeps us away from Him.
(Picture courtesy of stemnet.nf.ca)
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