Baal Shem Tov TeachingsTeshuvah (Repentance)

Teachings of Rav Shmuel Shmelke Horowitz of Nikolsberg

The Decision to Repent Grants You an Audience with the King

The Rebbe Reb Shmelke told the following parable:
A debtor owed the king a large sum of money. As long as he did not work out a payment plan for the money he had borrowed, he would not be granted an audience with the king. Once he worked out a payment plan, even before he had finished repaying the debt, he was allowed to come before the king and was granted permission for an audience with his majesty.
Similarly, once a person has made up his mind to repent, even though he has not yet done so, his prayers are allowed to ascend on High. His decision prevents his petitions from being cast aside, Heaven forbid, by the external forces of darkness. Although one must fully repent by actually rectifying his past misdeeds, as soon as he takes to heart the desire to repent, on that very day that he decides to do teshuvah, he can come before the King.
This requires an outpouring of tears during prayer, but they should be tears of joy (at having the opportunity to repent) that heal the soul. If he does cry out of sadness and pain, Hashem will also have mercy on him and heal him, for He heals all flesh, especially the downtrodden, the brokenhearted, and the depressed, but tears of joy are better.
Divrei Shmuel
 

The Decision to Repent Brings Peace of Mind

The Rebbe Reb Shmelke told the following parable:
As long as a young man has not betrothed anyone to him as his bride, he is in a state of doubt. He is unsure if a prospective bride is the right match for him — perhaps it is another? The bride is just as uncertain. Neither has a clear mind.
When the engagement finally takes place, even before the two are brought under the wedding canopy and wed, they have both already achieved clarity of mind and their minds are settled.
Similarly, when a person sincerely decides to repent, immediately he achieves clarity of thought even before he reaches any levels of sanctity and fulfillment. He has already acquired peace of mind the moment he has decided to repent, even before has actually done so.
Divrei Shmuel
 

Harvest of Teshuvah

“‘Days are coming,’ says Hashem, ‘and the plowman shall meet the reaper’” (Amos 9:13). This is the way of the world, taught the Rebbe Reb Shmelke. First you must plow and break the earth by making furrows. Then you can sow seeds and plant them. It rains and the seeds grow into stalks of wheat. The time comes when they are ripe for the harvest and you can reap what you have sown.
This is also the path of teshuvah: first you must “plow” your body and break your selfish desires and passions, as it says, “A broken heart G-d shall not despise” (Tehillim 51:19). Then you plant and water the teshuvah with tears of remorse, and finally you can harvest the benefits.
Imrei Shmuel, Kedoshim
 

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