Audio Roundup 2020:36

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by Joel Rich

From R’ Gil:
Medieval Ashkenazic authorities prescribed a variety of strong acts of self-induced suffering as part of the teshuvah process, including long-term fasting, lashes, exile and more. Rabbeinu Peretz (Gloss to Semak, no. 53) lists four kinds of teshuvah:
1) teshuvas charatah, in which you regret the sin;
2) teshuvas ha-geder, in which you set additional boundaries for yourself to avoid sinning in the future;
3) teshuvas ha-kasuv, in which you undergo the punishment listed in the Torah for your sin;
4) teshuvas ha-mishkal, in which you inflict yourself with pain corresponding to the amount of pleasure you enjoyed with your sin.
Of these four, the first is what we consider standard teshuvah and the second is going above and beyond. The third and fourth are not — and should not be — practiced today. The Vilna Gaon’s brother (Ma’alos Ha-Torah, introduction) makes clear that we cannot undergo these harsh forms of teshuvah in our time (his time, even more so in our time) and emerge physically and religiously healthy. Instead, he recommends intense Torah study.

Me- what is the nature of the paradigm change claimed by the Ma’alos Ha-Torah?

Kennedy in an August 1963 report on the nation’s physical fitness : “Happiness, as defined by the Greeks, is ‘the exercise of vital powers along lines of excellence in a life affording them scope.'”
Me- How does this compare to how “Jewish Philosophy” would define happiness?

Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].

About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent local lecturer on various Torah topics in West Orange, NJ and supports his Torah listening habits by working as a consulting actuary.

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