Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Three Ts

On Rosh Hashana we declare: “Repentance, prayer and charity remove the evil of the decree!” In Hebrew, these constitute the 3 Ts: Teshuva, Tefilah and Tzedaka.

Teshuva (repentance) a central theme of the High Holidays, means more than just saying “sorry.” Teshuva means recognizing one’s errors and making an effort not to repeat them. In many ways, teshuva is a private act because one must be introspective in order to recognize one’s own mistakes.

Tefilah (prayer) is the acknowledgment of God as the King and Ruler of the universe. Tefilah is almost private, but not quite. It is a conversation between the person and God.

Tzedaka (charity) is a critical step necessary to reverse an evil decree simply because it constitutes an action. The performance of this mitzvah affects the person giving, the person receiving, and its benefits often extend to others as well. Tzedaka is reaching out beyond one’s self, and is thus a public act.

Everything that a person does affects the world in multiple ways. It affects the person’s relationship with him/herself, their relationship with the Divine and their relationship with their fellow human beings. The path to reversing the evil of the decree must therefore involve the private, the spiritual and the public spheres of our lives.

*This Treat was originally published on September 23, 2008. It is being re-Treated to help us better understand the month of Elul and the High Holidays.

PROJECT FORGIVENESS
A crucial part of preparing for a "new you" in a new year is recognizing your misdeeds and being man or woman enough to say “I'm sorry” to the person you’ve wronged. Between now and Yom Kippur (Sept 28th) we’ll be using our Facebook fan page and Twitter to share "sorrys."

Sorry you forgot to feed the cat? That’s a good start. Sorry you weren’t there for a friend during a rough time? Say so. Share your sorry in 140 characters on Twitter or in a short message on our Facebook Fan Page and inspire all of us to begin evaluating our actions and to strive to be better in the new year.

So please join us in adding the hashtag #forgiveme to your tweets and/or posting your words here to help motivate us all to contemplate our actions as we prepare for a new year.

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