G-d's Plan For Repentance!

Five Steps of Shuvah ©
Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur

By Dr. Aliva G. Belk

This study of the Holy Days is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Channah Sakash Belk, may she rest in peace.

In this season of repentance, i.e acknowledging our mistake / mistakes, determining to turn {visibly} away from our error / errors, making plans, determining not to return to our sin / sins and making restitution, paying for our wrong, there are four additional things that we can do to help make our footing secure on the path of Judaism along with changing our conduct.

Change of conduct, which we just observed, is not an all or nothing thing! (See article entitled "Haggar or Katurah.") One must remember this! Haggar did not change her conduct in one huge, sweeping move. It was gradual. Normally one does not conquer their Yetzer Raw in one major battle and never hear from him / her again! Usually conquering one's evil inclination occurs inch by inch not mile by mile.... In this Holy Day season, conquer the areas that you can reasonably maintain... that you can secure.. that you can build upon.

Conservative, constant progress is the desired goal. However, if one bites off more than they can chew... if one fills their plate too full... if one's heart's intention is greater than their ability to perform, it is O.K. to back off a little, even a lot. The main thing is stay on the path. One needs to reestablish their footing and begin moving carefully forward again! One can condemn oneself but it doesn't help. It's better to fall back secure and begin making plans to move forward again from a safe, secure position.

As it is written, "And charity delivereth from death," (Proverbs 10:2; also see Proverbs 11:4). At this Holy Day season most congregations and Jewish religious organizations like JewishPath make an appeal for charity, money. Even though there are different forms of charity, money is the one that a special appeal is normally made for on Yom Kippur.

Obviously, if we are doing what Hashem intends for us to do on Yom Kippur, we will not be learning from this article on "Five Steps of Shuvah."

So we at JewishPath make our appeal to you now. Please help us! We do need your contribution of any amount. Your gift will make a difference. At this time no one on our staff, myself included, receives any salary or pay of any kind. Our staff is 100% volunteer. In fact, all of our staff members are employed outside this organization. JewishPath is a labor of genuine love for us. Our staff makes up the financial shortfalls of the operating expenses for JewishPath each month. I thank Hashem for their great kindness. May The Holy One bless them and everyone who contributes to this very worthy cause.

We receive many E- Mails each month. Sometimes it can feel a little overwhelming for Rachel Gold and other staff members, but we are committed to helping our fellow Jew as best as we can with our very limited funds. Not every response comes from Jewish readership. We also make every attempt to assist our fellow man the best we can.

We take each request, question, and comment very seriously. We feel the emotions of pain and joy with our readership. We hope that you will find our request to be worthy of a gift of charity.

We give of ourselves... our time... our Jewish learning... our own funds to carry JewishPath into the future. Would you please join with us at this time of year with a generous gift of any size? We would be pleased to offer a lesson in your honor or in the memory of a loved one for any gift of $18.00 or more.

Tenach teaches that through charity we can elevate ourselves and those that we love.

Please send your gift of charity to:

JewishPath, Inc.
P.O. Box 5
Morrison, Colorado 80465, USA.

Our prayer for those who give charity is, May Hashem Bless your going and coming! May Hashem Bless your each investment with great success! May Hashem Bless your life and the life of those dear to you with health, happiness, learning Torah, doing mitzvahs and very great success! ! !

Thank You! Thank You!

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As it is written, "Then they cried unto Hashem in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses" (Psalms 107:6).

Each of us can relate to the many times we have cried out to Hashem for His assistance. Time and time again He rescues us from destruction and many other difficulties.

I Will Purchase Your Business
Once during the days of the Gulf War Crisis, our family printing businesses were failing. We were in serious trouble! We could not pay our leases, equipment payments, taxes or even take money for food. It was like someone went to the water faucet and turned off the water, yet our expenses went on and on in three different locations. Without business we were sure to fail after being in business for years. Over a period of six months we were forced to let every employee go except for one. My oldest son and I ran one store, a relative ran the second and our only employee ran the third.

Due to our very desperate circumstances, I would cry out to Hashem for relief... for business... for wisdom. Eventually as things got worse, we were forced to close our main plant because it was the only place that was on a month to month agreement. We let our last employee go. It was difficult! We placed our second best store up for sale because we were so far behind in our lease payments. We placed all but one piece of our leased equipment in our second store as part of our fire sale, so to speak. We advertised and advertised. NO SERIOUS RESPONSE!

One evening after Maariv in the privacy of our home I continued to pray. This prayer was a very desperate cry to Hashem. It was indeed a most serious supplication. During the prayer the phone rang. The phone was close to me so I reached out to pick it up. An enormous charge went out through my right arm and into the phone as I picked it up and said hello, wondering who would be calling at this time of night.

The voice on the other end said in a very broken accent, "You have print shop for sale?"

I responded, "Yes!"

He said, "Tomorrow at 11:00 clock I come buy print shop."

I said, "O.K." That was the end of the conversation. He did not ask the price or make an offer. That was it. I stood there so to speak like Eliezer, Avraham's servant, wondering if this was the Hand of G-d in operation... It was stunning! It was shocking! It was even frightful to receive such an immediate direct answer.

The next day at eleven o'clock the man kept his word. He purchased our print shop with all the leased equipment, signed a new lease for the property and each piece of equipment. Thank G-d!

During the Ten Days of Repentance it is a very good season to make supplications for one's sins, one's family's sins and for the sins of all Jews!

Avraham changed Haggar's name to Katurah, but in actuality it was Katurah's actions that changed her name. Our name is a reflection of our actions. In business people often inquire, does his business have a good name? Is his name good? In actuality they are asking, what is the essence of his name or the name of his business? In other words, our name is a direct reflection of the essence of who we are. Katurah was recluse, secured, locked up in her room, so the essence of her name changed from Haggar to Keturah.

A man who is righteous will become known as a Tzdek. A man who is a thief will be known as a Gonif.

If a person wishes to change their lot in life, changing one's name can help to take on the essence of the name that one selects or that is selected for him by his rebbe.

Contrary to what is often taught, that one should move into a righteous community, this actually worked the opposite for Haggar. She could not find herself in the presence of Avraham and Sarah. The conditions of her employment and marriage conflicted with her desired result. So Haggar had to terminate her employment with Sarah, divorce Avraham and move to the wilderness for thirty-eight years. Eventually her righteous separation in waiting to be reunited with Avraham, her change in conduct, and her return to Yiddishkeit paved the way for her to be the respected wife of Avraham.

Each of these five steps - change of conduct, charity, supplication, change of name and change of location - can have a very dramatic effect upon one's life. They are tools that are intended to improve one's medos / behavior, etc. Use them with caution, but use them... They are G-d's plan for repentance.

Wishing You the Best,

La Shana Tova,

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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