Turning Evil Into Good

Elul 13/August 19, 2013—  ‘Great is repentance for it transforms one’s deliberate sins into merits.’ (Talmud, Yoma 86b) On this, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye teaches: ‘The essence of the finest t’shuvah is that deliberate sins are transformed into merits, for one turns evil into good, as I heard from my teacher, the Baal Shem Tov, who interpreted the “Turn aside from evil and do good” to mean: Turn the evil into good.”’

(Toldot Yaakov Yosef, 18th C.)

For reflection: There is healing and acceptance that comes from telling ourselves the truth about our real intentions and acknowledging our limitations as a part of us. Consider one thing you have done for which you are doing t’shuvah –even after all the atonement and healing, can you accept this too as a part of you, cherished even in its unpleasantness, holding it too as a sacred part of you?


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