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  • Torah Reading: Naso
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Tishrei 7

O, God, create for me a pure heart, and renew within me a just spirit (Psalms 51:12).

In 6 Tishrei we noted that true repentance consists of changing one's character to the point where one is no longer capable of repeating certain acts.

Some people may be frightened by the prospect of the emergence of a new personality. Generally we are most comfortable with the familiar, and the creation of a new personality is an excursion into the unknown. What is this new person going to be like? What kinds of likes and dislikes will he have? Will he still let me do the things I have enjoyed in the past, or will he be so restrictive that he will take all the fun out of living? How will people relate to this new person? Will my friends like him? Will my family accept him?

The anxiety about this unknown entity who may emerge may be so severe that a person may decide to remain just as he is. Even if one's present character is defective, there is at least the comfort of familiarity.

But one must have the courage of one's convictions. All growth carries a risk of discomfort. Newborn infants cry when they leave security of the womb, and "growing pains" are a fact of life.

To avoid such pain by simply not growing should not be an option for a thinking person.

Today I shall...

be courageous enough to discard faulty behavior patterns and allow a better "self" to emerge.

With stories and insights, Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...

May 21, 2009

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