By Rabbi Mark Borovitz
Redemption is a very hard concept and action for most of us. One of the reasons is because it is not linear! Our minds believe that if we learn something, change something, then we are fixed and done. It will never happen again. Wrong! Redemption is a process. It is going forward, retreating back and going forward again.
I find myself in this dilemma this week. I have made much progress in my 24.5 years of T’Shuvah, recovery, and redemption. Yet sometimes, I fall back into old ways. Earlier in the week, I had an outburst of anger. Of course I felt justified and, in the moment, believed it was Righteous Anger. Yet, my anger caused great harm to a process that I and others are engaged in. I haven't had this type of outburst for quite awhile, yet, everyone who experienced it felt the effects. I have made my T’Shuvah to the people involved and this experience has made me think deeply about my own Redemption.
I am a powerful person, I have a leadership role, and I can't bring "a howitzer" to meetings any more! This is an old lesson and one that I forget. I indulge my frustrations and take them out in inappropriate ways and times. I forget to be mindful of everything and everyone around me. And, I realize this week, this is the human condition. What I also realize is that this outburst doesn't negate the progress I have made in my own Redemption. Am I just trying to clean myself up? I don't think so.
I readily admit my failure in regards to my anger/temper. I work each day to keep my passion under control. I understand Pinchas in this week's Torah Portion. And there are days, actually it's down to moments, when I fail to keep it together. For these moments, I am deeply sorry and guilty. I am realizing, as I write this, that I have to fail forward and see how far I have come. I have to see my progress in my Redemption in other areas as well as this area. I have to use the strength of this progress in other areas to fuel progress in the area of anger/temper.
Most of all, I can't give up! I have to not fall into despair and be distraught over my lapse. Rather I have to move forward in my Redemption with renewed vigor and commitment. I have to remember that Redemption is not linear and I can't stop being Addicted to Redemption.