Tikkunim VI – Removing Obstacles
The Talmud teaches that removing obstacles is a form of Tikkun: Takanat HaShavim. Beit Hillel understood that if the Teshuva process demanded absolute adherence to the letter of the law, the law would be an obstacle to Teshuva:
AND THAT IF A BEAM WRONGFULLY APPROPRIATED HAS BEEN BUILT INTO A
PALACE. The Rabbis taught: If a man wrongfully takes a beam and builds it into a palace, Beth Shammai say that he must demolish the whole palace and restore the beam to its owner.
Beth Hillel, however, say that the latter can claim only the money value of the beam, so as not to place obstacles in the way of penitents. Gittin 55a
The straight Halacha is as Beit Shammai ruled: he must take down the beam to return it to its owner even if it means he will have to take down his house! Beit Hillel does not argue about the Halacha, but they address the very real issue that having to tear down my house in order to do Teshuva and return the stolen beam will prevent me from doing Teshuva.
When we consider our Teshuva by comparing our past actions to perfect behavior, Teshuva becomes an unscalable mountain. We may be prepared to do Teshuva, but it is hard for us to believe that we can be perfect. We doubt the effectiveness of our Teshuva before we begin.
This form of Tikkun – Takanat Hashavim – is to remove the obstacle of perfection from our Teshuva. We must begin the process of returning to God by setting achievable goals. The lower goals are an act of Tikkun!
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