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The Best Painkiller on the Market

By Tzvi Fishman
9/14/2011, 6:09 PM

Didn’t Bob Dylan write: “Something is going on, Mr. Jones, and you don’t know what it is?” The mystery is t’shuva.

I received an email from a person seeking the truth. Here is my answer. Maybe you can add some advice of your own. Since Anonymous seems to be a regular blog reader, I’m sure he’ll see what you write.    

Shalom, Tzvi:

I know very little about the mystical aspects of Judaism. I do however, or am at least beginning to realize, that there are things or some unseen forces at work against me. I have spent most of the last couple of years+ looking at, questioning, contemplating Torah and related commentaries, along with following your always thought provoking blogs. It has been the worst and yet the best time spent in my life.

Please explain what I am fighting against, and where is my help?

Thank you,


Shalom Anonymous:

Since I am not familiar with the details of your situation, I can only respond in general terms. The forces which seem to be against you are really for your benefit, helping you toward your tikun, but since we don't see the "big picture," reincarnations, and our lifetime scorecard of mitzvahs and sins, and the cleansing process we have to undergo to reach atonement, these forces are experienced by us as antagonistic and painful.

Basically, you can't be half and half with G-d. It doesn't work. When you realize that G-d is the real thing, you have to go for it with everything you can, as we say in the Shema, “With all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”

I suggest you get yourself a copy of Rabbi Kook's writings on t'shuva with our easy commentary: It is great stuff and spiritual medicine, and you'll understand things a lot better afterward. I also recommend Rabbi Kook's writings on Eretz Yisrael since t'shuva cannot be complete without returning to the place where the mitzvot are meant to be kept.

In the meantime, be comforted that you're feeling real pain. It's a good sign that healing is underway.

Shana tova


PS – With your permission, and for the benefit of the tzibor and you yourself, I am posting this exchange on my blog.