A few months ago, I turned to an alternative dietist to help him advise me which food is healthier for me. He said he would be happy to do so and set me up a week later, "'but for now I have a mission for you," he said. "'I ask that in the coming week, until our meeting, you write down everything that goes into your body every day". Okay, I thought to myself, sounds like a simple task. But in practice when I started doing it, I saw how complicated it was. What I ate every night, what I ate before my prayers, what I ate for breakfast, what in the middle of the work, what I came back to, what in between, at dinner, before bedtime, the covenant I visited, the wedding I was at, the bar mitzvah,.
From this mission (which I had already stopped after two days. ) I came out with some insights. I eat a lot more than I thought.
When I knew that in the evening I had to make a list of everything I could eat and show it to someone else on the weekend, I noticed a lot more about what I was eating during the day and tried to eat healthier. I can sit for a few minutes at the end of the day and think about what I did during the day. I thought to myself what would have happened if I had to make a list of everything that came out of my mouth and not just what went in.
From this we can also learn about the soul-searching that a Jew must do. You do not have to wait for the night, you can live consciously during the day, remember that at night we will have to make a list. To live with the ''G-dly consciousness', to remember all the time that ''the Name is standing on it,' and there is someone to account for, to pay attention to our actions,. And yes, you can sit at the end of the day for a few minutes and think about what I went through today, where I succeeded more and where I did less, where the animal soul intensified and where the Divine soul was on top.
Last week we learned in the letter of repentance how to reach real remorse, complete regret. Only when you understand how serious the crime we have undergone can you really regret it, only when you understand what damage was caused by the offense, we regret it wholeheartedly. The more true the remorse, the more the decision not to rebel against the king, not to do against the will of HaShem will be stronger.
The central time for this remorse is at night before bedtime while reading the Shema on the bed, so you have to observe the day before, and think about everything that comes in here and everything that comes out of your mouth.
True regret - some stories to illustrate. The city of Vitebsk is divided in two by means of a river that separates the two sides of the city. At a time when there was still no bridge between the two sections, the passage between them was made by a small ship. One day there was a storm, and the sailors spoke among themselves that it was not worth crossing the river. One of them did not listen to their advice and thought he could do it, but his ship drowned in the water. One can imagine the depth of remorse he had come for not listening to his friends as soon as he realized he was about to drown.
The old Rebbe told this story to his followers and concluded by saying, "'This is real repentance". It is told about R. Itche der of one of the great Chassidim of the previous Rebbe, ''Oved' in all his essence, who once came to the inn late at night. The landlord offered him something to eat, but he said he was tired and preferred to go to sleep.
The landlord showed him the room and was free of his business, and later he noticed that the light was on in his room until the wee hours of the night.
In the morning he asked him why he had not gone to bed, but he said he was tired. Rabbi Itche replied, "'Although I was tired, I also had to do the Shema and do a soul-searching. A Hasid once said to me: "'I remember my sins today, but until I brought internet into my home, I did not understand this story. How a tired person manages to stay awake for a few more hours. Only after I started surfing the Internet did I see how even when you''re tired you can stay awake. "'But in a more serious tone, we have to do a soul-searching at the end of the day, to remember that there is a kabbalah, an infinite light that fills all the pomes and turns every cemetery, to remember how small we are and how high we can reach.
Then think how much better could have been the last day, and how much better the Almighty will be the next day. It is impossible to deceive and truly read the Shema on the bed man is really tested, how serious he is in his prayers. In the middle of the day we pray at the minyan in the synagogue, and then , the question of what people will say about me, and how everyone looks at me at the moment.
But reading the shema on the bed is alone in the house, and there is no one to cheat, no one to do ''plays', here the person examines what his prayer looks like, and how his soul looks.
There were once two Hasidim who decided to meet each night before going to sleep and to do the soul-searching of the Shema before each other, to detail all the actions, the talk and the thoughts that "'Hashem did not have one". Only from the thought that we need to detail to someone else what we did during the day can we understand how serious it is to detail this with God. When do you become religious? Everyone knows the situation the car starts to leap a bit, to drive less well, to make strange noises, we know it from the cell phones and other devices we have, that suddenly they stop working properly and begin to fake.
There are people who, when such a forgery starts, they go straight to the garage or to the technician, but there are those who, as long as the vehicle is able to travel, continue and only when it is completely broken will they turn to the mechanic. Sometimes the same is true of the answer. As long as you feel that you can continue to carry on, you do not resort to real correction, to a fundamental change in the soul, to real regret and a firm decision. Only when there is breakage and they can not continue to travel do they decide to do Teshuvah really.