Teaching Torah through Brokenness

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Guest post by Rabbi Paul Steinberg

The following was originally published June 9, 2015 by eJewishPhilanthropy.  Many thanks to Dan Brown and Rabbi Paul Steinberg for allowing us to repost on this blog.  In his reflections on the work of Beit T’shuvah, Rabbi Steinberg offers depth and personal insight to two Jewish Sensibilities – Shevirah and Teshuvah.

In 1972, during the television program Eternal Light, Abraham Joshua Heschel vigorously exhorted: “Here stands a man and I’ll tell you, this is a man who has no problems. Do you know why? He’s an idiot!” So it is: to be a mindful human is to have problems. Certainly, these problems include those of the world: injustice, corruption, poverty, warfare, hunger, and on and on. As Jewish mystics identified long ago, the world is broken and is in need of healing, and we should be doing what can to mend such brokenness.

Yet, not only the world has problems or is broken. The Talmud declares that each human being is a world unto him or herself and, therefore each one of us experiences brokenness. Continue reading