How do we appraoch Teshuvah? From Kol Nidrei to Neilah.
Lets start at the the beginning, this isn't the first time I doing Teshuvah, last year I did Teshuvah but after months I couldn't keep on telling myself that all went well, the emptiness ignoring wasn't possible anymore. Something wasn't right as I did feel close to HaShem anymore.
When Elul came I desided a second attempt and started to intensify Torah study.
In approaching Teshuvah there are four elements :
1. Leaving the sin.
3. Confession before HaShem.
4. Never commit this sin again.
But first when we commit a sin against another person we must ask forgiveness from that person, before HaShem will accept our Teshuvah.
My approach towards Teshuvah was with Torah study, Rambam's HilchosTeshuvah, Yonas Shaarei Teshuvah and Pirkei Avos and Tefilos.
With acknowledging my sins and transgressions, I am taking leave of the sin.
Before I could take the next step, I was adviced to make a list of all bad habits, and choosing out of the whole list three bad habits that I could change, that I knew I would be able to keep.
My avodahs stengthen even more through study and Tefilos, as the yetzer hara stared its tricks, I knew at that point I couldn't do it without the help of HaShem. It wasn't only the sins and transgressions I regret, but also want to return to HaShem, return to the core essence of my Neshama.
These days there is so much negativity and major destrachtion in the world, that literally everything is upside down. Moving into the darkness by giving into negativity, doesn't bring me closer to HaShem. What helped me was studying Mussar, reading a great Mussar made me feel a whole better and more positive.
I choose Pirkei Avos, which does wonders for our Neshama, the more studying, reading andTefilos I did, the more I felt humble but also grateful for everything HaShem is giving us.
In approaching Teshuvah making a plan works best, at set time for stuying and Tefilios. As tiredness was creeping in, there was this strong driving force from witin that kept me going. I remember thinking that it wasn't hard at all, but that was until erev Yom Kippur as I realized this was real, this was something totally different.
The first thing that came to mind was " What is it that HaShem want's from me "? And also wandering if I was doing Teshuvah the right way. Right from the start that little voice in the back of my mind, told me I couldn't do it! Realizing that this was the yetzer hara yet again, I begun my personal prayer and before I knew, I was telling HaShem everything. This made an instant difference, doubts vanished and I just knew what to do, even fasting gave something extra.
The next day, Yom Kippur after the service, I landed in a rollercoaster of emotions, it was very intense, but peaceful at the same time, a feeling of coming home. In between Tefilos, Krias Sh'ma, Amidah and Kapparot i also did Yizkor, another emotion into rollercoaster. I decided to read Pirkei Avos, as it did help before, I was reading stories, inspiring, postitive and uplifting that I decided to share on my website after Yom Kippur.
What I learned during Teshuvah is that Trusting HaShem is the most important thing, and because of His ernormous goodness He gave us this gift, an ability to repent, to regret all our wrongdoings. When we stand with humility before HaShem, sincerely regret our sins and transgressions and begging forgiveness, I am sure He wouldn't turn us way. As a loving father he would forgive us, as long as we promis not commit the same sin again.
During Teshuvah I realized that I am still a long way off from really serving HaShem. My experience were intense and putting feelings into words isn't always easy, but one I do know B" H that HaShem is never far away.
Teshuvah didn't just end yesterday...it's just the beginning.