Friday, August 20, 2010

TESHUBA: Waking up Pinocchio’s cricket

Today is the 10th of Elul, 5770

Our conscience is an integral part of the makeup of our Neshama (human soul). Like Pinocchio’s cricket, it warns us whenever we are about to do something wrong. Conscience, moral awareness, is the most effective mental mechanism preventing us from bad behavior. For instance: If we are about to say something negative about a colleague (lashon haRa) ideally, our conscience will scream at us and tell us to stop: ‘Don’t do it. This is very wrong!Then, we hopefully stop.

But, what if we don’t listen to our conscience and we still do it? How many times our conscience will keep warning us?

As a rule, our conscience would scream very loud the first time or two. However, each time we repeat doing the same thing, our conscience’s voice becomes weaker and lower. To the point that if we persist, it probably becomes mute. Our rabbis, and very specially Maimonides (Teshuba, 3,4) describe this state as ‘the lethargy of our conscience’.

The Torah’s cure? The Shofar.

The Shofar has (should have!) a shocking effect on us. The Shofar, ‘a loud voice’ represents/replaces our own ‘dormant conscience’.

In the words of Maimonides the Shofar yields:

‘Wake up you sleepy ones from your lethargy, and you who slumber, wake up! Inspect your deeds, repent and remember your Creator…Look at your souls. Improve your ways and deeds, and abandon your evil paths and bad thoughts’


Shabbat Shalom!



WATCH: ‘Always let your conscience be your guide’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOZzNOkcEgM&feature=related