Tikkunim VIII – Solutions
It may be that Elul is a time of Tikkun, but many of us feel overwhelmed by how much we have to repair, and the magnitude of some of the issues we want to address. We begin in a state of weakness. The Talmud speaks of Tikkun as, not only repair, but how to affect that fixing:
R. Eleazar said; The illiterate will not be resurrected, for it is said in Scripture, The dead will not live etc. So it was also taught: “The dead will not live.” As this might [be assumed to refer] to all, it was specifically stated, “The lax will not rise,” [thus indicating] that the text speaks only of such a man as was lax in the study of the words of the Torah.
Said R. Johanan to him: it is no satisfaction to their Master that you should speak to them in this manner. That text was written of a man who was so lax as to worship idols. ‘I’, the other replied, ‘make an exposition [to the same effect] from another text. For it is written in Scripture, “For thy dew is as the dew of light, and the earth shall bring to life the dead,” him who makes use of the ‘light’ of the Torah will the ‘light’ of the Torah revive, but him who makes no use of the light of the Torah the light of the Torah will not revive’.
Observing, however, that he was distressed, he said to him, ‘Master, I have found for
them a remedy (Takana) in the Pentateuch: “But you that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day;” now is it possible to ‘cleave’ to the divine presence concerning which it is written in Scripture, “For the Lord, your God is a devouring fire?”
But [the meaning is this:] Any man who marries his daughter to a scholar, or carries on a trade on behalf of scholars, or benefits scholars from his estate is regarded by Scripture as if he had cleaved to the divine presence.
Similarly you read in Scripture, “To love the Lord your God, [to hearken to His voice,] and to cleave to Him.” Is it possible for a human being to ‘cleave’ unto the divine presence?
But [what was meant is this:] Any man who marries his daughter to a scholar, or carries on a trade for scholars, or benefits scholars from his estate is regarded by Scripture as if he had cleaved to the divine presence. Ketubot 111b
Tikkun also means to develop a strategy as a solution to a problem. This is actually the most demanding of all the forms of Tikkun we have discussed:
If I commit to stop a destructive behavior and repair my life’s path, we are affecting Tikkun as repair. This form of Tikkun demands that we develop strategies that will allow us to keep our commitments and adhere to our Rosh Hashanah resolutions. The commitment to change is only the first step of Tikkun. The higher Tikkun is when we develop strategies that will allow us to accomplish the promised repairs.
It is essential to note that the repair is imperfect! The strategy in the Talmudic selection above was to find a way to fulfill a commandment, when we feel overwhelmed by its highest demands. The strategy was to discover another way to fulfill the Mitzvah.
There are absolute laws about speaking Lishon Harah. When we decide to Repair our sins of Lishon Harah we face a huge problem: How can we fix our speech when it is so easy to fail? If we focus on the Tikkun as perfect speech, we will usually fail before we even begin. The best strategy is to set an achievable goal for my speech.
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