Thursday, December 30, 2010

Teshuva and Snow

Who writes about Teshuva in the middle of the winter? Isn't that something we only talk about during Elul - the month before Rosh Hashana?

The truth is,
teshuva is something we should be focusing on every day. I know it is emphasized very strongly in Elul but we mention forgiveness in shemona esrei every day in the bracha of selach lanu when we say, forgive us Hashem because we have sinned...

We all do aveiros. We all do things we shouldn't. Then we look back and feel bad. Guilty. Regret. And we wish we can wipe it all away. And luckily, we can! Hashem has given us the gift of
teshuva - the ability to start fresh and begin all over again.

Hashem says,
if your sins would be as red as scarlet, I'll cleanse you so it will be as white as snow. What is the connection between teshuva and snow - besides for that white, clean color?

When you watch someone shoveling snow from afar, it looks so easy. But when you try to do it on your own, you realize how much strength and energy it takes to make a path for people to walk on. It may be easy to tell other people to change, watch them do the wrong thing and criticize. It's so much simpler to tell the world exactly what is wrong but when it comes to changing yourself, now that's real work. Instead of judging other people and noticing the things they are doing that need to be changed, look at yourself and realize what you have to do to become better.

The longer you leave the snow on the ground without shoveling, the harder it gets to actually get rid of it because it becomes hard and icy. The longer you let that
aveirah stay in your heart, the harder it can get to work on it - because your heart becomes icy, hard like stone and when you get used to doing the wrong thing, it doesn't seem so bad anymore so you may not even think it's something you need to change. But if you notice right away that you did something you should not have and you talk to Hashem about it, you will have an easier time with the teshuva process.

Tell Hashem,
I'm sorry I did this. I know it's wrong. I wasted my time. I looked at, and listened to things I shouldn't have. I yelled. I got angry. I wasn't honest. I wasn't respectful to my parents/teachers. I said things I should never have said. The things I have done dirtied my neshama and I want to make it clean again. Please Hashem, help me overcome the temptation next time it arises! I cannot do it without your help!!

Also, when one person makes a path in the snow, they have now made it easier for everyone else to walk on that street/road. You will not know about all the people who have walked down that path after you shoveled, but you surely deserve to be rewarded for every person who benefited from your hard work. When you change for the better, other people are looking and you can influence them without even knowing about it. When you decide to do something because it's right or not to do something because it's wrong, you don't know who is watching you and how you can cause them to copy you (
If she can do it, so can I!)- and then the reward is yours to keep!

So take a lesson from the snow and try to focus on something that you can change now. You will feel cleansed after!!


  1. Wow! this is so so AMAZING OUT OF THIS WORLD! thanx so so so much for sharing! this is such a good lesson! i already sent this oout to some of my friends! (i think they might even be seeing this comment right now!)
    also i'm so happy that this was just posted-so that i can see and learn something on day like this-when i cant exactly go anywhere....

  2. Great post! It's so interesting when you find parallels between natural stuff like snow and spiritual things like teshuva. Here's one more comparison I came up with:

    When someone tells you they did teshuva for something they were doing wrong, that she is making changes in her life etc. you think "Wow, she is so special!" And she is! But you should realize that doing teshuva is a process that doesn't happen overnight. During this process, you still occasionally slip and make mistakes. But the end process: a shining, pure neshama.

    The parallel to snow? Snow is such a pretty and clean picture - it's pure white. But is it really? On its way down from the sky, the snowflakes accumulated dust and other junk in the atmosphere. If you let snow melt in a clear cup, you'll see it's not pure water (that's why it's not recommended to make slurpees from snow!).

    To pull it together: Just like snow appears pure but it did go through a process where dirt attached itself, that's kind of similar to the way we do teshuva. It's ok to mess up while you're learning - that's growth. But you'll end up becoming purer, just like the snow we look at outside :)

  3. wow thanx 4 the reminder its crazy how we go thru the yr and only remember teshuva during elul

  4. This a great post - I follow you, and when I saw a post about teshuva, my first thought was, " the middle of the winter? This is such a random post..." But it's not! Thank you so much for this.

  5. Well, I better get started, I have a lot of shoveling to do!! I don't want my "sidewalk" to get any "icier" then it already is!

  6. Echoing everyone else, this is a great post! Amazing how you can take so many lessons out of the things we take for granted. Thank you!

  7. Thank you so much for this post

  8. devoiry you are soooo incredible!! its unreal to have a sister like you who is soooo real and sooo full of kedusha!! what a gift you are to the world!! you think of such incredible ideas of how you could inspire others through everything that happens!! may hashem repay you to have very special children who will live with such a love for hashem and his torah!!


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