by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Someone asked, “When we do teshuvah are we supposed to be sad?”
Gutman’s response: Teshuvah literally means “returning”, but most often it refers to a Jew “turning” toward a Torah life. But actually, returning is a good way to describe the process. Our soul is a portion of Hashem flowing from the Most High that has been temporarily assigned to our bodies. When we do teshuvah we are returning our direction back onto the holiness that is already within us. Should we be sad at such a time? Or should we rejoice? The answer is, we should do both.
There are two kinds of sadness; there is genuine sorrow, as we should have for our misdeeds, and there is depression.
Genuine sorrow is constructive. It motivates us to change our behavior for the good. We should regret our transgressions.
But depression is a horrible waste, it is a thief. We should never give into it, not for a moment. Depression holds us down, and prevents us from improving. It comes and torments us about things that we cannot change…over and over again. And if we do happen to solve some problem that it has been keeping in front of our minds, it simply moves on to a different problem to complain about. It is entirely negative.
Constructive sorrow is positive. We know that it is true because as soon as we take the steps to correct what we did wrong, that sorrow begins to turn into joy. It is the joy of walking in the light of Hashem, the joy of trying our best.
When we live a life of Torah and mitzvahs we are fulfilling our purpose as Jews. This is why we were created Jews. Knowing this, and living this, should bring us great joy. If it doesn’t, you do not understand why G-d gave us His Torah.