Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Teshuba and Jiminy the cricket

Our conscience is an integral part of the makeup of our Neshama (human soul). Like Pinocchio's cricket, Jiminy, its mission is to warn us whenever we are about to do something wrong. Conscience, moral awareness, is the most effective mental mechanism which protect us from bad behavior. For instance: If we are about to say something negative about someone else (lashon haRa) ideally, our conscience will scream from within and demand us to stop: 'Don't do it! This is very wrong!' .

But, what happens when we don't listen to the first alert-call of our conscienceand we still do it? How many times our conscience will keep warning us?
As a rule, our conscience would shout very loudly the first time or two. But then, if we keep doing the wrong thing, the conscience's voice becomes weaker and lower. To the point that, if we persist, our conscience turns virtually mute.
Maimonides describes very vividly this passive moral-state as 'the lethargy of our conscience'.

The Torah's cure for the sleeping conscience is the Shofar. The Shofar is the alarm-clock of our consciences. The Shofar has a shocking positive effect on us.Its loud voice represents and helps us to retrieve the original loud voice of our dormant consciences.
In the words of Maimonides (3:4) the Shofar of Rosh haShana carries a strong message :
'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 actions, and abandon your evil paths and bad thoughts'

Click here to read:
"Palestine May Win a Vote, But Won't Be a State" by Jeffrey Goldberg.