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The Art of T'shuva

By Tzvi Fishman
9/16/2010, 12:00 AM

“For some time now, I have been struggling with an inner battle. A powerful force is impelling me to speak on the subject of t’shuva.”

Thus Rabbi Kook begins his inspiring book, “Lights of T’shuva.” While psychiatrists offer many theories about man’s existential dilemma and pain, Rabbi Kook reveals that the real cause of humanity’s suffering stems from mankind’s alienation from G-d. The solution, he teaches, is t’shuva.

I had the great honor of working with the distinguished scholar, Rabbi David Samson, in translating and explaining Rabbi Kook’s writings in a book we called “The Art of T’shuva.” With the Day of Repentance approaching, I sincerely recommend readers to look at the abridged chapters that we have posted. You will find many new ideas there that can greatly improve your lives and lead you to a newfound happiness.

For example, because of this blog and my writing at, I sometimes get letters from people who are suffering from all kinds of problems. Many of them feel a lack of self worth, and this leads them to depression and serious transgressions. Often, their lack of self worth stems from the sick and distorted values of Western culture which places undue emphasis on material success, fame, honor, and physical beauty. If you don't have a $100,000 salary and a fancy car, you're a bum.

Rabbi Kook sets things straight. True success in life is getting closer to G-d. More important than all the money and fame in the world is being a good person. In the eyes of Judaism, the most successful person is the one who sets his life on a course of constant t'shuva. Even if he still has a long way to go, just the fact that he is on the t'shuva train means that he is a winner.  

So happy t’shuva, my friends!

And once again, I hope that all readers who I have offended will find it in their hearts to forgive me, as I certainly forgive any talkbacker who offended me.