Jewish Journal

Truth, T’Shuvah, and Tzedek: 3 Principles to Live By

by Beit T'shuvah

February 8, 2013 | 11:36 am

I AM GUILTY! I have made mistakes, I forget to return calls, I have to reschedule appointments, and I don’t call my mother enough. I lose patience too quickly. I don’t rest enough some weeks so I am irritable and ‘fly off the handle.’ My anger is fierce and I am too demanding at times. I forget to see the person in front of me and sometimes I am too wrapped up in my own stuff to notice another. I hold people and myself to higher standards than may be possible. All of these things and probably others are true.
Taking responsibility seems to be very hard in our society today! Reading this week’s news has been very interesting to me. I have seen an Ex-LAPD officer kill others because he feels wronged. I have read about doctors who take no responsibility for participating in the death of a young man due to their constant and increased prescriptions for Adderall. The Royal Bank of Scotland has made a settlement regarding wire fraud and the 2008 financial debacle. No one takes responsibility, however. No one is guilty. JP Morgan Bank has emails proving their fraud regarding mortgages and selling these mortgages, yet they say they are innocent. “Too Big to Fail” has turned into “TOO BIG TO ADMIT GUILT “ and ” TOO BIG TO SPEAK TRUTH.”

What is going on? Doesn’t anyone remember the teachings of our youth? When I was young, my parents always told me that the Truth mattered most. While it took me a long time to incorporate this lesson into my daily living, I use this mantra to guide me everyday. What has happened to our Morality? We are told that Faith Matters, yet all faith has Truth at its core. All faith has at its core, admitting where we were wrong and doing T’Shuvah, amends, restitution, repair, etc.

I am so upset about this. My Rabbinate is founded in Truth, T’shuvah and Tzedek, righteousness. I understand why people will tell me “you do such wonderful work” yet not apply these concepts to their own living. They think, like we read in the papers and hear on the news; the rules don’t apply to them!

WELL, they do! Every one of us has to do T’Shuvah one day before we die and since none of us know the day of our death, we have to do T’Shuvah every day. This includes corporations, this includes professionals and this includes those of us who don’t want to. We, as a country, as a people, as individuals have to demand Truth, T’Shuvah and Tzedek from ourselves and everyone else.

The quote “To err is Human…To forgive Divine,” written by Alexander Pope, has been bastardized and/or forgotten. We blame, deny, forget, etc. in order to not take responsibility. This has to stop. Bosses can no longer abuse their workers and not repent. Workers can no longer slack off and not repent. Companies can no longer take advantage of the public and not repent. People can no longer sue others because they feel like it and not repent. Too Big to Fail cannot mean do as they please and not repent.

I am Addicted to Redemption because this ADDICTION has made me and others better people. Truth, T’Shuvah and Tzedek make us more human and more Divine. As Rabbi Hillel says: “If not now, when?” Please join me in living these three principles each and every day. Let us change the world, one at a time, and bring more Truth, T’Shuvah and Tzedek into everyone’s life.

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