March 4, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm #589555
I have an interesting question…
Here’s the situation: A person did complete t’shuva for a bad aveira. Every time he thinks of that aveira, the image comes to mind. The guilt is still very strong and the image is a very unpleasant one.
This person wants to erase this image! Is that possible? Or- is there no way out. Is it a sign from Hashem that the t’shuva process was incomplete?
If t’shuva is done completely, can this person really forget the aveira? Or at least, the bad image that is created in the mind every time he thinks of the aveira.
I’m not sure if I was able to convey my question clearly. Ask away if necessary. I look forward to some good, deep answers.March 5, 2009 5:30 am at 5:30 am #639771JosephParticipant
Moish, I had much han’ah reading that you have been in touch with a Rabbi lately.March 5, 2009 5:51 am at 5:51 am #639772an open bookParticipant
yeah, good job, moish01 🙂
to add to that: when i want to not think of something, i try to automatically shift to thinking about something else that is totally unrelated. if you start doing this a lot, it will get easier to control your thoughts, & then you can just “change the channel” whenever you see your thoughts are going down an unproductive & possibly harmful path. it takes a while though, and it takes conscious thought to stop thinking about whatever you didn’t want to in the first place.March 5, 2009 6:23 am at 6:23 am #639773anonymisssParticipant
I like this question. Your sincerity so touching. I don’t have an answer for you but good luck with whatever it is that you’re dealing with.
~a~March 5, 2009 6:35 am at 6:35 am #639774labochurMember
I saw in the writings of R’ Shach what everybody else said. Don’t say how could i thik of this, or anything along those lines. Just think about anything else- it could even be anything random- and daven, daven, and daven that you don’t think of pruste things.
Hatzlochah Rabah!March 5, 2009 6:40 am at 6:40 am #639775yankdownunderMember
Raised Eyebrow-read the book Garden of Emunah. I think there is a version written in Ivrit. Rabbi Pliskin has a new book called Taking Action which is about cultivating and developing the attribute of zerisus. Which is self motivated enthusiasm. Hashem will help forgive and will not abandon you. Do as much chesed for others and forgive yourself. In other words stay as busy as possible so you do not have time to dwell about past thoughts, do chesed and Hashem will help. All Hashem asks us to do is to try and he will assist us. If all my advice does not work seek out a Gadol, pray to Hashem that he sends the right one to you.March 5, 2009 3:01 pm at 3:01 pm #639776kiruvwifeMember
One of the great talents of the yetzer hora that comes forth after one has done teshuva, is the ability to send the person back in their mind to where they were, which brings on tons of guilt. The yetzer hora reels with frustration when a person does real teshuva, and his tactics are many. What you are describing is a very accurate method of the Y”H doing his job well.
An eitza that is given to those who are trying to FEEL that they have done real teshuva, is to work on believing that Hashem has accepted it. If one has changed their behavior, has committed himself never to do that again, then it’s done. Gone! Hashem has no interest in people wallowing in guilt their whole lives, or even to the extent that they can’t get past what they did.
Teshuva is one of the greatest gifts Hashem has given us. I would suggest learning Sha’arei Teshuva, which should boost this person’s realization that they are truly loved by Hashem, and they have the ability to conquer the Yetzer hora’s ploys to make them feel negative.
Hatzlocha!March 5, 2009 3:10 pm at 3:10 pm #639777SJSinNYCMember
You cannot change the past – only move on to the future. No matter what, the sin still happened even if you did full teshuvah and Hashem accepted it. Its a part of your past. I don’t think this is neccesarily a bad thing though.
I don’t think its possible to really erase the image. And I think its there to help us in the future – if you really forget the true, deep guilt that went along with the sin, over time you may forget how bad it is. Then you might sin again.March 5, 2009 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #639778myshadowMember
First of all welcome to the cr.
If a persons tshuva was really sincere then these images can be viewed as a good thing.
Hashem doesn’t erase memory once the tshuva was accepted but rather He turns them into stepping stones for growth. The yetzer hara puts the images in your mind cuz he wants you to feel disgusted with yourself, and say uch I was so bad watz the point, and go back to your old ways. But instead if you take that image and tell yourself, wow I came far since then and I have no interest in falling back, then you’re squashing the y’h and it will only strengthen your resolve to keep on growing!
Hatzlocha!!March 5, 2009 5:48 pm at 5:48 pm #639779squeakParticipant
A great quote that I am fond of (which encourages self-censorship of computer usage) is “You can delete your cookies, but you can never delete your memories”.
On a more upbeat note, there is a Chassidishe vort relating to the parsha of Viduy Maaser that concludes one should always put out of his mind the mitzvos that he has done, and Hashem is trustworthy to remember them for you. But one should always remember his aveiros (and hope that Hashem will ignore them as a result).
I have also learned that on Yom Kippur you should do tshuva even for aveiros that were already forgiven on a prior Yom Kippur. So don’t try to pretend that the aveira never happened. But no, that does not mean that your tshuva is not accepted.March 5, 2009 8:38 pm at 8:38 pm #639780
These posts are a tremendous help. Thank you all for taking the time to contribute. I sincerely appreciate it.
Interestingly, I just started reading Garden of Emuna- I hope it helps.
(Obviously, the scenario I described is about me)
I need to clarify: every time the image comes up, I feel guilty yet try to convince myself that it’s OVER. It’s not working. Plus, I do not have control over when it is going to pop into my head. I understand it’s the yetzer hara; however I still can not predict his actions. I can divert my thoughts, but this keeps recurring over and over again. The Y”H will drive me crazy one of these days.
One big lesson: an image/action/aveira.. and your memory- don’t mess!! My biggest fear is having this image in my head CHAS V’SHALOM on my yom hachupah. And that is the horrific thought that comes to mind every time I get this image. Believe me, nothing is worth heartache such as this.
Thanks again- each post was extremely enlightening and thoughtful.March 5, 2009 8:52 pm at 8:52 pm #639781SJSinNYCMember
RaisedEyebrows, is it something you are tempted to do again (even though the guilt is so bad)?
Hatzlacha with your search for your bashert. When the day comes and you get married, you think about a lot of things. I found the day I got married to be one of the most introspective days of my life. You are choosing to build a new life with someone. You may think about this.
When you get to the chupah, concentrate on how wonderful your marriage is going to be and how thankful you are to Hashem. Daven for yourself, your family your friends…
Good luck!March 5, 2009 9:01 pm at 9:01 pm #639782
no- I don’t think I will ever do that aveira again. Trust me- once was more than enough.
What’s odd is that in every other area (IMHO) I’m pretty strong against the Y”H. Somehow though, I really fell in this time… (PS- this happened 8 months ago!)March 5, 2009 9:22 pm at 9:22 pm #639783myshadowMember
raised, you sound like me. I’m petrified I’ll think of different messed up things that happened under the chupa. But like I posted above, If you’re positive that it will never happen again, then don’t worry. Even if you do think of it, trust me it will help you cry betterMarch 5, 2009 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm #639784oomisParticipant
What an excellent quiestion! Of course one cannot erase something terrible from the mind unless it was so traumatic that he doesn’t realized it ever happened. However, that same person could try filling his mind and free time with worthy pursuits , so he has little time to think of his aveira, except potentially if ever confronted with that yetzer hara again (and one would hope that his memory would protect him from being nichsahl again).
It is sad, but one of the punishments for committing devastating aveiras, is often the guilt that accompanies them . Guilt is a powerful thing. A truly remorseful person cannot just erase it, but perhaps at least hope to learn from his former actions and become a better person for it. hashem forgives, but we are not Hashem and it is not always easy to forgive ourselves. We have to just go on and hopefully walk a more Torahdik path, and that should give the person some nechama.March 5, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm #639785
oomis that was put very well, thank youMarch 5, 2009 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm #639786JayMatt19Participant
In davening (ma’ariv) we make the following request from HaKadosh Baruch Hu:
??????? ???? ???????????? ?????????????? – And remove the satan from in front of us, and behind us.
I understand the request for “infront of us”. I want to do a mitzva, but the yetzer hara is trying to stop me. What is the case of behind us?
There are 2 ways in which the yetzer hara attacks from behind.
a) After doing a mitzva, the yetzer hara makes us wish we hadn’t. (The Rambam writes, that the same way one can do teshuva on their averos, one can also do teshuva on their mitzvos R”L). and,
b) Reminding us of all the bad we have done in the past, trying to prevent us from moving forward (using images, reminders, or insults such as faker).
Both of there Yetzrei Hara (front and back) are dangerous and we need siyata d’shmaya in our quest to conquer it.
Nevertheless, we must realize when the yetzer hara is attacking, and how he is doing so.
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