Question:

BS”D

I’m in a very very dark place.
I’m a frum, Gd-fearing person but not long before Yom Kippur I succumbed to the Yetzer Hara and behaved in a way that violated a few very severe transgressions.
Immediately following the acts I felt a hollowness within myself at the knowledge that I let Gd and my community down.
This became worse where, upon studying the ramifications for my behavior, I may be Chayev Kares.

I’m desperately afraid that my cause is beyond hope. I’ve naturally tried to make teshuva and, of course, I observed Yom Kippur. But despite these I fear that I will remain Chayev Kares and spiritually excised from my people – a consequence I cannot live with.

I’ve read a number of things, that teshuva is beyond my situation, that teshuva will only help with great suffering, or that I won’t be reconnected with my Gd and people until death.

Naturally my Rabbi would be someone I would turn to but in this situation I simply cannot.

Please tell what the true halachic and spiritual ramifications there are and if I truly am beyond help

Answer:

 

The first thing that you have to know is not you are definitely NOT beyond help. Although transgressing a Chiyuv Kares is very serious, and true if the person does not do teshuva he is cut off from olam haba, however HaShem is very merciful and the doors of teshuva are NEVER shut.  It is a known trick of the Yetzer Hora, to make the person feel as if he doesn’t have any hope and to put him into depression and despair. The Meiri (Yoma 86a) says that what is meant that for certain very serious sins that teshuva doesn’t help, is that these sins are very serious; however the doors of teshuva are never closed.

Although the gemora says that teshuva and Yom Kippur are not enough unless the person also undergoes suffering, however Rebbeinu Yona in Shaarei Teshuva 1-47, and 4-11,16 says based on the verse (Mishlei 16:6) states, “BeChesed VeEmet Yechupar Avon” “With truth and kindness iniquities can be atoned for”. Truth means torah learning, meaning that you should increase the amount of torah that you learn every day. Kindness means by doing acts of kindness, such as giving tzedakah, uplifting the downtrodden, visiting the sick etc. a person can atone for all sins.

Besides this what is meant by suffering? Rabbenu Yonah teaches that apart from earning protection from suffering by studying an extra amount of Torah, if one exerts oneself to study Torah despite his urge to go to sleep and to indulge in other comforts, these afflictions can actually substitute the required suffering that were intended for the sinner. Also see Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim remez 850 On the verse (Tehillim 94:12), “Fortunate is the person who is afflicted by God and is taught his Torah,”.

Furthermore, one can also substitute the Yesurin that he has been decreed to suffer with other deprivations that he accepts upon himself. Rabbenu Yonah ( Yesod HaTeshuvah) writes that a weak person, for whom it is difficult to fast or to deprive himself of his needs, should abstain from desires. Quoting Harav Abraham bar David (Ra’avad), one of the most pious of men, instead of fasting that when eating or drinking, and he still has a desire to eat or drink more, he should leave over some food on his plate or a bit of liquid in his cup, in the honor of Hashem. Exercising such restraint certainly substitutes for possible Yesurin, with which he may have been afflicted for his sins.

This doesn’t in any way make light of the suffering that a person has to go through for these serious sins, however as stated, there are ways to do teshuva that include everything you need.

May HaShem help you do a full teshuva and may you have a full atonement, without very painful afflictions.

Tags: karis repentance

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