In the morning as soon as you wake up you should remind yourself of all the sins you committed. Then you should say Tehillim (psalms) with a broken heart / a feeling of regret for the many sins committed.
Start Your Day Right
The opposite scenario is when a person begins imagining and desiring lustful desires such as sexual fantasies and lusts for other pleasures and then one begins the day with lowering himself into evil, for as one begins their thoughts and desires during the awaking moments so follow all subsequent thoughts and desires throughout the day, for the first thoughts and desires are of primary importance. Thus a person should immediately say chapter 51 of Tehillim (psalms) which holds great potential for rectification of even terrible sins such as adultery and the like.
G-d Helps Those Who Feel Remorseful
G-d who know mans inner feelings and desires (subsequently called heart) helps a person who his genuinely heart-broken over their previous sins. A person who feels genuine remorse, regret, and “lowness,” over their past sins is helped by G-d to maintain clarity of thought and purity of desire for the rest of the day.
The Time To Mention and Feel Remorse Over All Of One’s Sins
The time to do this (think about all of one’s sins leading to a genuine broken heart) is twofold:
Before One Goes To Sleep
- (Jewish people say Shemah at night, this is called Krias Shemah Al Hamitah the bedtime Shemah. In this prayer service there is a confession for sins that a person does.) When saying Vidue (the confessional prayer) in Krias Shemah Al Hamitah a person should mention – and feel remorse over – all their previous sins. This “mentioning” follows the more important aspect that a person never sins again, however the mentioning and feeling bad evokes compassion from G-d on their soul that they should be helped not to fall lower and to steadily rise to greater heights.
In The Morning When One Wakes Up
- The other time, is daily, when one wakes up; also on Monday and Thursday and Erev (the day before) Rosh Chodesh (the new Jewish month) in Mincha (the afternoon service) the Baal Tshuvah (one who desires to repent and return to G-d) should say Al Cheit (the traditional repentance prayer found in the jewish prayer book) and after Al Cheit bear in mind all of his particular sins and he should mention them, feeling genuine remorse over them. Furthermore this should be done nightly before he goes to sleep.
Be Aware Of Your Behavior, Do Not Think Or Desire The Bad
There are two parts to repentance (and returning to ones former state of closeness to G-d) 1. The first part is simply not doing the sin itself, which in order to do this one needs to continually be aware / conscious of their behavior not to repeat the sin. 2. A repentance from the depth of the heart whereby one is careful not to think and desire those things that cause one to sin; included in this is not to G-d forbid go to the places where they can be vulnerable to failing and falling into sin. For if a person even thinks about their sinful desires, they have not repented, the proof being that they are not controlling their urges, (for they are thinking about how to get their urges. What a person thinks about is entirely under their control. One can immediately think about something else when one of their urges hits them.)
True Repentance Is Proven By Not Thinking About The Past Sin
True repentance enters the heart with a firm resolution to never sin again thus when a person is genuine in their desire to repent they will not allow themselves to think about their sinful desires ever again. This is the sign that their desire to repent is genuine.
“Watch” Your Eyes
The general rule is that what a person sees enters their heart, so if a person needs to stop sinning with girls they need to stop looking and shmoozing with girls, for the desire only follows the visual aspect and once the desire is there, then the action follows.
This is the reason for the Baalei Tshuvah who are not successful, and fall from their resolve, for they are not careful to “watch” their eyes from looking at those things that cause their hearts (desire) to become infatuated, which then leads them to sinful actions.
Even Normal People Should Not Ogle Women
This applies even to a person who is not smitten with lust for women for even by looking (lustfully) at women they cause that their dreams at night are about them. And even women who often feel there is no problem looking at a good looking guys also sin by not “watching” their eyes, for their dreams too will follow what they looked (lustfully) at during the day.
Be Careful Of Those Things That Are Gateways
Another aspect necessary for those who desire complete repentance is to rid themselves of foolishness. In other words, the rationalization that they are free from sin, and therefore they let their hair down and sing and dance, and party without a care in the world, forgetting their previous sins; If a person is a genuine repentant, then the thought that they need to maintain their current fortunate soul status would not allow someone like themselves to let their hair down and ignore the gateway to sin.
The Importance Of Feeling Heart-Broken; Why Bad People Always Feel Bad
The real reason why a person acts in folly is because they have never done a proper repentance feeling heart- broken over their previous sins. If they were genuinely heart-broken they would not let their hair down by partying, singing and dancing, as if they have no care in the world. All this indicates that their remorse is not genuine. G-d does not favor such a person. This is what the sages report “Bad people are constantly filled with remorse” for they feel bad and stop sinning for a short period of time and then their lack of genuine repentance allows them to fall again for which they feel remorse for and so an endless cycle of remorse follows.
One Should Be Proud Of Their Repentance; One Should Make Friends With Clean People
The person who repents should not go around with their head bowed down, always feeling low. On the contrary they need to feel great joy that they have changed their ways, from darkness to light, from bad to good, and at the same time they should always feel humbled before other people and not let their hair down (let themselves loose) as mentioned before. They should constantly attach themselves to good Jews and not to evil people as it says in Psalms, “Lucky is the person who does not follow in the ways of the wicked …”
Even During Joy One Should Feel Humble and Heart Broken
It is written “My sin stands before me constantly”. A person who sinned must always feel humbled by the previous sin and never forget the fact that they sinned. Even when it is a time of great joy like Shabbos and Yom Tov they must constantly remember their sin and feel heart-broken. When a person does this, G-d himself embraces such a person, as it says “My right hand will embrace him”.
The Power of a Broken-Heart
Our sages teach that a person must repent daily. They don’t mean by this that a person should feel great remorse and cry etc. and then go back to foolishness rather the essential humility of a broken-heart which is the essence of Teshuvah (repentance) must be a constant by such an individual. One must always feel humbled from their previous sins and then G-d will help them.
Repentance Saves Your Soul
The idea of Teshuvah is that a person “saves their soul”. In other words, the soul is living through G-d’s “breath,” when a person sins, particularly sins that cut off a soul (as it says by sins of Koret) “they shall surely be cut off” then the person destroys the rope that attaches their G-dly soul to G-d. Thus a person must realize that Teshuvah is literally like giving life to a corpse. For when a person does Teshuvah G-d gives their soul G-dly life, as the verse states, “See I have given you life and death, choose life.”
A Repentant Person Must Give Charity To Help Others
Thus a Baal Tshuvah (repentant person) should always give charity, particularly before Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh for just as a person who murders is punished particularly by their own murder, a person who saves another person is given the reward, that they are saved. Additionally Baalie Teshuvah should group together to give charity before Shabbos for this literally restores their soul and reattaches it to G-d. However they should also fast once in a while for when the body is reduced (i.e. ones fat) this allows the soul to reattach properly to G-d.
Guard Your Thoughts
As mentioned before, there are two primary aspects to Tshuvah. There are the thoughts which are generated from the desire. So one must be careful to create a proper heartfelt Teshuvah for only in this way their thoughts will not be influenced by their desires. Furthermore when they do have lustful thoughts they should immediately stop thinking about such things; Also they should not look at beautiful women (causing these thoughts and lustful desires to influence their actions.) And women should not look lustfully at guys for that affects the children that they will have.
Teshuvah / Repentance Is To Stop Sinning
The main aspect of Teshuvah is that practically the person ceases to sin. If for example a person masturbates or worse sins the actual cessation of sin evokes G-d’s full pardon and this is considered a complete Teshuvah.
One Who Wishes To Purify (rectify) Themselves G-d Helps Them
This is what the sages say “One who wishes to purify (rectify) themselves G-d helps them.” So if someone genuinely desires to purify themselves (rectify themselves) G-d sends positive Teshuvah thoughts into their mind that assist them with the return process. (If on the other hand a person has no desire for rectification, rather they desire to sin, and furthermore they cause others to sin then G-d does not send them a single thought of repentance, allowing the person to sink to the lowest depth.)
When One Falls It is Because They Have Not Really Repented
However a person who does Teshuvah (repentance) and falls again, this is because their Teshuvah is not considered Teshuvah by G-d. If however s/he has done a proper Teshuvah yet s/he is unable to maintain their status, thus G-d has mercy on their soul, and sends them painful situations (“rock bottom”) in order to assist their Teshuvah process, for G-d knows what one truly desires to do.
The Test Of A Broken Heart
If a person did a proper Teshuvah and through association with bad people falls, then, as their original Teshuvah was good this breaks their heart and causes them to become remorseful and go on the proper path. On the other hand, someone who just had a thought of Teshuvah (without feeling heart-broken over it) then when they sin it is a gateway to progressively fall lower and lower. This is what it says that “in the path that a man wants to go that is the path G-d leads them on”. This is truly a good indication if someone’s original Teshuvah was a proper one or not.
A Repentant Should Feel Remorse In The Morning When Saying Psalm 51
When a Baal Teshuvah awakens in the morning he should remind himself of all the sins that he did and particularly say with a broken heart (a feeling of contrition) the Psalm 51 and particularly feel contrition when reciting “Cleanse me of my sins and purify me from my iniquities”. He should say this Psalm daily and especially on Monday and Thursdays and Erev (the day before) Rosh Chodesh (the new Hebrew month.)
One Should Study After Prayers In The Morning
After morning prayers he should study, even if it is only a bit of Chumash (Bible) and a chapter in Neveim (Prophets.) A chapter or two in Mishnayous or Shulchan Aruch (code of Jewish laws) and he should review it a few times. And whoever can study more should spend time every day to study Beis Yosef (more laws) with commentaries, and one night every week should study an entire night. And he should fast and study words of rebuke from the Zohar and from The Gateway To Repentance in Reshis Chochmah and if one fasts until after 1:00 it is considered as if they fasted for an entire day. And one shouldn’t eat gluttonly like an animal and one shouldn’t stuff oneself. And one shouldn’t eat for the pleasure of it, rather to have energy to serve G-d, and one should eat light foods, like cheese and bread. A person shouldn’t come (as a result of having a full stomach) to again ignore G-d.
One Should Not Put One’s Pleasure Into Food
The sages say that from stuffing ones belly a person comes to nocturnal seminal emissions, for when a person adds “heat” to their body they coarsen their soul which leads to further sins. Especially when a person creates a ceremony out of eating and one places ones pleasure in it, this then coarsens themselves, by creating a fat and course individual, and a coating over ones soul / heart comes, eventually it becomes completely hard (like a stone i.e. unfeeling and insensitive.) And as a result of this they do not have the opportunity to have thoughts of repentance for the rest of their life. Thus a Baal Teshuvah (repentant) should not put his pleasure into eating. For a Baal Teshuvah must be exceptionally careful not to become fat from food. On the contrary he needs to lose weight through depriving one’s body of fattening and lustful foods.
The Dangers Of Drinking
There is another reason why Baal Teshuvah go back to their bad ways connected to eating and this is called gluttony. Also through drinking alcoholic beverages that open up the heart to desire all forbidden things. In short, drinking alcoholic beverages adds to the body’s heat and complete burns a person’s soul and heart by creating arrogance and evil and people lose their rational thoughts and their fear (reverence of) G-d and it leads to many terrible sins. Thus a Baal Teshuvah should be careful not to drink strong beer and especially not alcohol, as it becomes a habit to have two or three shots before the meal. Thus he should not drink any alcohol ever even for Kiddush and Havdalah (and if there is no light wine or grape juice available he) should make it on beer.
Don’t Sleep After Eating During The Day
A Baal Teshuvah should be careful not to sleep after he eats during the daytime for through the heat of the food (as it becomes digested) while sleeping, a person could come to seminal emission or a hardening of the member and bad dreams; thus one should wait an hour before lying down after eating, and should exert oneself in physical work and labor (sometime after eating thereby burning the calories).
From Repentance To Goodness
Be Ethical In Business
The reason a person is in business is in order that he should be honest in business, which means not to cheat anyone even out of a cent. One should see to it to pay off old debts as soon as possible although it is very difficult to do so. Whoever doesn’t pay (their debts) is called a wicked person equated with the terrible sins such as adultery as it says “A wicked person borrows but doesn’t pay back” and as it says in the Ten Commandments “Do not steal”. It says “Do not steal” next to “Do not murder” for stealing is equated with murder, for the little bit of money one withholds from another is the livelihood of the other upon which many mouths are fed, so it is better to feed many mouths than steal from many mouths.
Goodness and Kindness
Furthermore a Baal Teshuvah must do as much kindness and as many good deeds as s/he can, and the main thing is to have compassion and genuine feelings for the poor and even for the travails of the wealthy, and not to have a hard heart (i.e. insensitive, uncaring and thus unkind). A person should only feel great compassion (and never the opposite) and a Baal Teshuvah should constantly be searching out ways to give to others be it monetarily or through good advice thereby helping as many people as s/he can as it says “Through kindness and honesty sins are forgiven.” And certainly G-d will pay the Baal Teshuvah back according to their kindnesses as it says “Whomever has mercy on others G-d is merciful towards them”.
Assist The Poor
A person must never be hard-hearted, they must see the needs of the poor particularly the needs of their children and especially the great Mitzvah of assisting to make a wedding for a poor persons daughter (or son whom can’t afford to do this on their own). And when a person gets to heaven their good deeds go before them as its says “Righteousness will walk before you.” The good you do in this world goes before you in the next and especially through clothing the naked (assisting the poor with their worldly needs) as it say “When you see a naked (i.e. poor) person etc. (you should surely clothe him.”)
Take Care Of Your Family and Trust G-d
And certainly one’s own flesh and blood, ones parents, brothers and sisters, one must assist them in every way possible as it says “From your own flesh do not withhold”, and “the life of your brother is your responsibility”. And this applies even to more distant cousins, to assist them in everything they need. Also one should be exceptionally careful to look after sick people, whose life often hang on a thread, this Mitzvah is called Bikur Cholim (visiting the sick). And visiting anyone who is down is an even greater Mitzvah and for this Mitzvah G-d will forgive one of all their sins, and especially when one gives charity anonymously e.g. giving to the Charity Box in Synagogue when no one is watching or putting coins in a charity box at home before eating. A person should muster their trust in G-d (who takes care of everything and everyone) even during difficult financial times, to the extent that a person can’t take it anymore, nonetheless people should strengthen their trust in G-d who will feed and take care of everyone. And when someone is in business and trusts in G-d (to take care of them) although the business is quite small the return is much larger, this is a tried and tested method for success.
Trust That G-d Provides For You and Don’t Cheat Others
However people who forget that it is truly G-d’s hand that creates wealth and they prefer to rely only on their own smarts and do not give charity, we see that in the end of the day nothing productive occurs with their money and sometimes it even gets lost and one’s children remain impoverished. And certainly this applies to those people who stole or loaned money on interest (which is prohibited in the Bible). And if someone cheats and steals in business G-d does not listen to their prayers for their hands have blood on them compared to actual murder.
Do Not Report Anyone
If someone is jealous of their friends business and they undermine them by reporting false or even true claims to the government G-d causes that later the government will cause them untold misery. And similarly in other business practices where people desire to swallow the competition (destroy it) and oppress poor people in many ways with lack of feelings of compassion and love; for this G-d avenges the injustice and the government oppresses them and their children see no profit. G-d is not in their hearts which is why all day they have evil thoughts and these thoughts create accusations in Heaven harming them and their children. And this is what the verse says “many troubles will afflict you and you will say on that day ‘why did these troubles afflict’ for G-d was not in our midst” and this is “Because you did not serve G-d with joy when things were good … Thus you serve your enemies” and it is easy to understand. G-d should remove stupidity from their hearts and certainly then all of G-ds blessings will thus come their way.
The Baal Teshuvah must establish times to study Torah (Bible) with a partner, for example between Mincha and Maariv (the afternoon and evening services). Particularly to learn Aggados (the ethical stories of our Sages) for in order to go in the proper path it takes a great awareness and concentration (i.e. it doesn’t happen if a person doesn’t put effort into discovering what the path is). And after Maariv one should learn ethical Jewish teachings and not hang out with empty people whose sole aim in life is to talk nonsense (/ have fun) as it says, “Fortunate is the man who does not go in the way of the wicked and in the midst of jesters sits not”. The midst of jesters refers to people who mock others and talk badly; these people are worse than the wicked who deny G-d and Judaism for they bring one to the very lowest depths of depravity. “Rather the Torah of G-d is ones desire”, a person should attach themselves to Rabbis to study from them for in this way they study the holy words and advice of Torah which thus penetrates their minds and hearts; through this the heart is attracted to G-d and it frees itself from negative thoughts and desires, this is the opposite of the “Way of the wicked and in the midst of jesters.” Thus this is one of the great principles for someone who wishes to go in an upright and holy direction and path. This is in fact the main thrust of the Teshuvah, to turn away from evil and to go in the upright, just, and holy direction of Torah and Mitzvos.