I matter. I acknowledge and am aware of the beauty of my soul, the depth of my character, the holiness of my existence, and the potential that exists within me.
Because of this, I am pained by those parts of my life that I feel aren’t the real me. I feel ashamed by the mistakes that I made because I can be more. I can do better.
We all make mistakes. In the days of the Holy Temple, we lived in an agrarian society and during a 7-year cycle, a person would give tithes from his or her produce. The Torah tells us that twice during these 7 years one had to come to the Temple and make a confession. To confess that you gave your tithes to the Kohen, to the Levite, and to the poor.
Following is the text of this confession.
“I removed all the sacred portions of crop from my home, I gave it to the Levite, to the orphan, to the stranger, to the widow, I did not eat it, nor did I use it in inappropriate ways, I obeyed every commandment you gave me, now get up, look down from heaven and bless me.”
Where is there a confession here?! Why is this text referred to as the tithe confession??
Imagine my entire suit is stained. I’m eating a chocolate mousse cake, and everything is getting all over me. Then, someone comes and puts a little bit of chocolate on my shirt. I won’t even notice it!
If I believe that I am a terrible and lowly person, then I can’t really take responsibility for my mistakes. I feel so badly about myself that these sins and mistakes are natural, inevitable. Dare I say that they are not even noticeable?
The prerequisite for confession is acknowledging your goodness, sacredness, and your beauty. I am so beautiful, I am capable of so much more! I don’t want to live with this mistake. I confess!
What is more, only when you are a free person, and you acknowledge that you are in control over your life, can you confess and make amends for the future, saying this will not happen again, I will change it.Have a great Shabbos!Rabbi Mendel Schusterman
Thanks to my brother, Rabbi Kushi Shusterman, of Chabad Bel Air, Maryland, for sharing the above Torah thought