Written by Scott Allen

Jewish Teshuvah and Mesa AZ IRS Tax lien Problems

We all make mistakes and one of the hardest things is to forgive ourselves.  Making amends for mistakes and moving forward is explained beautifully with the Jewish belief in Teshuvah or repentance.  Hopefully this subject matter is not so much about a religion as it is about resolving past mistakes.  IRS tax lien problems in Mesa AZ are serious but with proper professional assistance, it is a  matter that can be resolved and settled.  Call Scott Allen E.A. for a free initial consultation regarding your Mesa AZ IRS tax lien problem today at 480-926-9300.  He offers a free initial consultation and will make that day a great day for you.

And now you can learn a little about Jewish Teshuvah

Jewish Teshuvah (Repentance)

Repentance to the Jew is called teshuvah.   Teshuvah literally means “to return” or “to respond.”  To return to a place you have been to or to respond to someone who had been speaking to you.   In Rabbinic Judaism, the idea of repentance or teshuvah is the central concept of Rabbinic Judaism, because Rabbinic Judaism emerges after the Second Temple has been destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 AD.  One of the primary functions of the Temple was to achieve atonement for one’s sins by bringing an animal sacrifice to the priest and the priest would serve as an intermediary and the priest would slit the throat of the animal.  Then you would pledge not to do whatever you had done before—but it was that animal sacrifice that effected atonement.

Once the Temple had been destroyed, the location for atonement no longer existed.  So how do you get clean?  How do you get pure before God from those transgressions that we all commit?  The idea of teshuvah becomes absolutely central in the Rabbinic mind and in Rabbinic religion.
Teshuvah—return or responding is the idea of returning to be in a right relationship with God and responding to God’s call for us to heed the divine commandments that were revealed at Mount Sinai.  These commandments subsequently went through a process of interpretation that was passed down by the Pharisees and the scribes and finally re-interpreted by the Rabbis.
The Rabbis say that teshuvah preceded creation.  In other words, the world could not exist without some way for the people that inhabit this world to rectify their transgressions, or feel as though they are now back again in a right relationship with God.  So before even creation, the world could not exist without teshuvah.
Repentance preceded creation because whenever we inevitably falter or stumble, we need a way to right ourselves and a method to accomplish this.  Jews believe that God wants us to right ourselves by doing teshuvah.
The noun form teshuvah does not appear in the Hebrew Bible, only the verb.  Jews believe that the primary biblical character to exhibit the characteristics of teshuvah  was King David.  King David had an affair with Batsheva.  He sees her from his rooftop.  Batsheva’s husband is away at war.  He has Batsheva brought into his house where they engage in sexual relations which is a capital crime.  It is adultery because she is a married woman.  She gets pregnant and has a child that ends up dying as a punishment for Batsheva and King David.
King David is confronted with what he has done by Nathan his prophet.  All the kings had prophets.  Back then prophets tell the king what the king needs to hear in order to keep him on the straight and narrow.  So when Nathan challenges King David’s behavior with Batsheva, King David immediately confesses, “I stand guilty before the LORD.”  He took responsibility for his actions and regretted what he had done.  To the Jews, David is the model of teshuvah.  King David is the ancestor of the Messiah.  The Messiah is going to be part of that lineage.  So here in the Hebrew Bible, there is a connection between teshuvah and redemption—redemption that only the Messiah can bring.
Leviticus 4 and 5 contain lots of examples of different kinds of sacrifices that the person who has transgressed is responsible for bringing to the priest.  In Leviticus it is not the Temple that the sacrifices are brought to, but the Tabernacle or forerunner of the Temple.  The Tabernacle is a portable Temple that the Israelites used in the desert.  Later on one would go to the temple in Jerusalem and bring an animal sacrifice.
The right religious behavior was a required element of teshuvah.  It was not enough to just bring the animal to be sacrificed.  If you brought them with dirty hands, then that was not good teshuvah.  You had to still bring the animal sacrifice, but you also had to change your evil ways.  When we move into the Rabbinic period, the question then becomes “What do we do?  We can change our evil ways, but we can not bring back animal sacrifice because we no longer have a temple.  The early Jewish Christians answered that problem of not having the Temple anymore through the vicarious atonement of Christ, who died on behalf of their sins.  That was not available to the Rabbinic Jews.

Let me read to you from Moses Maimonides.  He summarized Rabbinic Judaism’s approach towards teshuvah when he said the following:

At the present time, when the Temple no longer exists and we have no altar for atonement, nothing is left but teshuvah.  Teshuvah atones for all transgressions.
“Teshuvah atones for all transgressions.”  In Rabbinic Judaism there are two different kinds of transgressions.  You have those between me and other human beings.  And you have transgressions between me and God where other human beings are not involved.  The Mishnah writings from the first, second and third century of the Common Era which was after the destruction of the Second Temple says that when you harm someone, you need to make restitution, in order to effect teshuvah that involves a transgression with another person—YOU CAN NOT JUST SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO TESHUVAH.  If you have wronged someone, you need to apologize.  If you have stolen from someone you need to restore their lost property.  In other words, you need to provide restitution for the transgression so that no one else is holding on to bad feelings.
The Rabbis developed this idea of teshuvah.  The Rabbis distinguished teshuvah from fear and teshuvah through love—love of God and wanting to do right, as opposed to fear of punishment in the afterlife.
What the idea of teshuvah is for the Rabbis, is not necessarily or not primarily
a return to God, as we saw in the Hebrew Bible, but a return to God’s will as expressed through Jewish law.  So there are specific lists of things that we are not supposed to do and specific lists of things that we are supposed to do.  When we violate either of those lists, whether it refers to God or refers to other human beings, in order to do teshuvah we must right our ways.  It is about deeds, rather than about devotional posturing or piety in God’s presence.
Once the Temple was destroyed, it was no longer about being in God’s presence.  The Temple was God’s address, but for Rabbinic Judaism it is more about following God’s ways or following God’s will.  The emphasis is on deeds and what people should be doing to maintain themselves in a right relationship with God.
One of the statements in the Talmud about the power of teshuvah is as follows:
Where a b’al teshuvah (one who is engaged in teshuvah) stands, a totally righteous person [who has not transgressed] cannot stand.
I can not stand there because what the b’ al teshuvah has gone through, someone who has never succumbed to temptation can not possibly know.  The person who is completely righteous and who has never transgressed does not know the exhilarating thrill of giving in to sin or evil, whether it is to women or men or drugs or any other vice, there is a kind of pleasure to it.  If the person who is completely righteous has not experience that temptation, then, according to the Talmud, they are on a lower level.  The person who has experienced that temptation and is strong enough to know that thrill and to overcome it, and manifest self-restraint and self-control—for the Rabbis, they are at a higher level.
Another statement of the Talmud, by Resh Lakish, is that “teshuvah is so great that premeditated transgressions are accounted in the great ledger of your deeds as though they were merits,” that premeditated sins in the past, once that person has done teshuvah, are accounted as though they were merits.
This doctrine is transformative in that a person who has gone through the process of teshuvah can help others benefit from that experience.  Not only am I stronger, but I can help other people who have not yet gone through the process of teshuvah.  I can shepherd them through the process, because I have more credibility in their eyes than the person who has never transgressed.
It is like someone who was arrested for breaking into a car.  He goes through the prison system and he repents.  He atones.  Then he becomes a locksmith and helps the auto industry figure out ways to make more ingenious locks that can not be picked.  He is helping other people in a roundabout sort of way by making it less likely they will break into a car.
One of the greatest religious thinkers of the 20th century, Rav Joseph Baer Soloveitchik, said that “Teshuvah is an act of creation, of self-creation.”  Jean-Paul Sartre, a French existentialist, said a similar thing: “that your future is virgin.”  Your future deeds should not be predicated on your past deeds.  You always have an opportunity to recreate yourself.  Haven’t we all moved to a new area or a new job where no one knows the problems of our past and felt that we could have a fresh start from the ground up.  That is the idea of recreating yourself.  So often we get stuck in a rut and do not take advantage of the principle of recreation.  As a non Jew I can say without reservation that too many of my fellow Christians who sin become so weighed down with guilt and remorse that they never recover.
During medieval times Jews observed a code of law by Moses Maimonides.  He asks the question, “What defines teshuvah?”  His answer:
When the straying one leaves his error and removes it from his thoughts, and resolves in his heart never to repeat it…and he regrets it…He needs to make oral confession and say that these matters are finished from his heart.
To Jews it is important that it is done orally.  They feel a need to hear themselves say it for it to have maximum impact.  It is not just about thinking, but it is also saying it out loud.  It does not have to be an oral confession to someone else.  God created the world through his speech according to Genesis 1.  For the Rabbinic tradition, words are very powerful.  We need to hear those words that we are leaving this forever.
Many early Zionists believed in the notion of return (teshuvah) to the Land of Israel as part of teshuvah.  Joni Mitchell, a popular singer put it this way in one of her songs:
We are stardust.
We are golden
And we have to get ourselves back to the garden
We are stardust.
We are golden
And we have to get ourselves back to the garden
Is it the garden of goodness?  Is it the Garden of Eden? Is it the garden of teshuvah?  Or is it the garden of Palestine?  I believe she is referring to all of them.

Jewish Teshuvah and IRS Problems
We all make mistakes and one of the hardest things is to forgive ourselves.  Making amends for mistakes and moving forward is explained beautifully with the Jewish belief in Teshuvah or repentance.  Hopefully this subject matter is not so much about a religion as it is about resolving past mistakes.  IRS problems are serious but with proper professional assistance, it is a  matter that can be resolved and settled.  Call Scott Allen E.A. for a free initial consultation regarding your IRS problem today at 480-926-9300.  He offers a free initial consultation and will make that day a great day for you.
And now you can learn a little about Jewish Teshuvah
Jewish Teshuvah (Repentance)
Repentance to the Jew is called teshuvah.   Teshuvah literally means “to return” or “to respond.”  To return to a place you have been to or to respond to someone who had been speaking to you.   In Rabbinic Judaism, the idea of repentance or teshuvah is the central concept of Rabbinic Judaism, because Rabbinic Judaism emerges after the Second Temple has been destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 AD.  One of the primary functions of the Temple was to achieve atonement for one’s sins by bringing an animal sacrifice to the priest and the priest would serve as an intermediary and the priest would slit the throat of the animal.  Then you would pledge not to do whatever you had done before—but it was that animal sacrifice that effected atonement.
Once the Temple had been destroyed, the location for atonement no longer existed.  So how do you get clean?  How do you get pure before God from those transgressions that we all commit?  The idea of teshuvah becomes absolutely central in the Rabbinic mind and in Rabbinic religion.
Teshuvah—return or responding is the idea of returning to be in a right relationship with God and responding to God’s call for us to heed the divine commandments that were revealed at Mount Sinai.  These commandments subsequently went through a process of interpretation that was passed down by the Pharisees and the scribes and finally re-interpreted by the Rabbis.
The Rabbis say that teshuvah preceded creation.  In other words, the world could not exist without some way for the people that inhabit this world to rectify their transgressions, or feel as though they are now back again in a right relationship with God.  So before even creation, the world could not exist without teshuvah.  Repentance preceded creation because whenever we inevitably falter or stumble, we need a way to right ourselves and a method to accomplish this.  Jews believe that God wants us to right ourselves by doing teshuvah.
The noun form teshuvah does not appear in the Hebrew Bible, only the verb.  Jews believe that the primary biblical character to exhibit the characteristics of teshuvah  was King David.  King David had an affair with Batsheva.  He sees her from his rooftop.  Batsheva’s husband is away at war.  He has Batsheva brought into his house where they engage in sexual relations which is a capital crime.  It is adultery because she is a married woman.  She gets pregnant and has a child that ends up dying as a punishment for Batsheva and King David.
King David is confronted with what he has done by Nathan his prophet.  All the kings had prophets.  Back then prophets tell the king what the king needs to hear in order to keep him on the straight and narrow.  So when Nathan challenges King David’s behavior with Batsheva, King David immediately confesses, “I stand guilty before the LORD.”  He took responsibility for his actions and regretted what he had done.  To the Jews, David is the model of teshuvah.  King David is the ancestor of the Messiah.  The Messiah is going to be part of that lineage.  So here in the Hebrew Bible, there is a connection between teshuvah and redemption—redemption that only the Messiah can bring.
Leviticus 4 and 5 contain lots of examples of different kinds of sacrifices that the person who has transgressed is responsible for bringing to the priest.  In Leviticus it is not the Temple that the sacrifices are brought to, but the Tabernacle or forerunner of the Temple.  The Tabernacle is a portable Temple that the Israelites used in the desert.  Later on one would go to the temple in Jerusalem and bring an animal sacrifice.
The right religious behavior was a required element of teshuvah.  It was not enough to just bring the animal to be sacrificed.  If you brought them with dirty hands, then that was not good teshuvah.  You had to still bring the animal sacrifice, but you also had to change your evil ways.  When we move into the Rabbinic period, the question then becomes “What do we do?  We can change our evil ways, but we can not bring back animal sacrifice because we no longer have a temple.  The early Jewish Christians answered that problem of not having the Temple anymore through the vicarious atonement of Christ, who died on behalf of their sins.  That was not available to the Rabbinic Jews.
Let me read to you from Moses Maimonides.  He summarized Rabbinic Judaism’s approach towards teshuvah when he said the following:
At the present time, when the Temple no longer exists and we have no altar for atonement, nothing is left but teshuvah.  Teshuvah atones for all transgressions.
“Teshuvah atones for all transgressions.”  In Rabbinic Judaism there are two different kinds of transgressions.  You have those between me and other human beings.  And you have transgressions between me and God where other human beings are not involved.  The Mishnah writings from the first, second and third century of the Common Era which was after the destruction of the Second Temple says that when you harm someone, you need to make restitution, in order to effect teshuvah that involves a transgression with another person—YOU CAN NOT JUST SAY YOU ARE GOING TO DO TESHUVAH.  If you have wronged someone, you need to apologize.  If you have stolen from someone you need to restore their lost property.  In other words, you need to provide restitution for the transgression so that no one else is holding on to bad feelings.
The Rabbis developed this idea of teshuvah.  The Rabbis distinguished teshuvah from fear and teshuvah through love—love of God and wanting to do right, as opposed to fear of punishment in the afterlife.
What the idea of teshuvah is for the Rabbis, is not necessarily or not primarilya return to God, as we saw in the Hebrew Bible, but a return to God’s will as expressed through Jewish law.  So there are specific lists of things that we are not supposed to do and specific lists of things that we are supposed to do.  When we violate either of those lists, whether it refers to God or refers to other human beings, in order to do teshuvah we must right our ways.  It is about deeds, rather than about devotional posturing or piety in God’s presence.
Once the Temple was destroyed, it was no longer about being in God’s presence.  The Temple was God’s address, but for Rabbinic Judaism it is more about following God’s ways or following God’s will.  The emphasis is on deeds and what people should be doing to maintain themselves in a right relationship with God.
One of the statements in the Talmud about the power of teshuvah is as follows:
Where a b’al teshuvah (one who is engaged in teshuvah) stands, a totally righteous person [who has not transgressed] cannot stand.
I can not stand there because what the b’ al teshuvah has gone through, someone who has never succumbed to temptation can not possibly know.  The person who is completely righteous and who has never transgressed does not know the exhilarating thrill of giving in to sin or evil, whether it is to women or men or drugs or any other vice, there is a kind of pleasure to it.  If the person who is completely righteous has not experience that temptation, then, according to the Talmud, they are on a lower level.  The person who has experienced that temptation and is strong enough to know that thrill and to overcome it, and manifest self-restraint and self-control—for the Rabbis, they are at a higher level.
Another statement of the Talmud, by Resh Lakish, is that “teshuvah is so great that premeditated transgressions are accounted in the great ledger of your deeds as though they were merits,” that premeditated sins in the past, once that person has done teshuvah, are accounted as though they were merits.
This doctrine is transformative in that a person who has gone through the process of teshuvah can help others benefit from that experience.  Not only am I stronger, but I can help other people who have not yet gone through the process of teshuvah.  I can shepherd them through the process, because I have more credibility in their eyes than the person who has never transgressed.
It is like someone who was arrested for breaking into a car.  He goes through the prison system and he repents.  He atones.  Then he becomes a locksmith and helps the auto industry figure out ways to make more ingenious locks that can not be picked.  He is helping other people in a roundabout sort of way by making it less likely they will break into a car.
One of the greatest religious thinkers of the 20th century, Rav Joseph Baer Soloveitchik, said that “Teshuvah is an act of creation, of self-creation.”  Jean-Paul Sartre, a French existentialist, said a similar thing: “that your future is virgin.”  Your future deeds should not be predicated on your past deeds.  You always have an opportunity to recreate yourself.  Haven’t we all moved to a new area or a new job where no one knows the problems of our past and felt that we could have a fresh start from the ground up.  That is the idea of recreating yourself.  So often we get stuck in a rut and do not take advantage of the principle of recreation.  As a non Jew I can say without reservation that too many of my fellow Christians who sin become so weighed down with guilt and remorse that they never recover.
During medieval times Jews observed a code of law by Moses Maimonides.  He asks the question, “What defines teshuvah?”  His answer:
When the straying one leaves his error and removes it from his thoughts, and resolves in his heart never to repeat it…and he regrets it…He needs to make oral confession and say that these matters are finished from his heart.
To Jews it is important that it is done orally.  They feel a need to hear themselves say it for it to have maximum impact.  It is not just about thinking, but it is also saying it out loud.  It does not have to be an oral confession to someone else.  God created the world through his speech according to Genesis 1.  For the Rabbinic tradition, words are very powerful.  We need to hear those words that we are leaving this forever.
Many early Zionists believed in the notion of return (teshuvah) to the Land of Israel as part of teshuvah.  Joni Mitchell, a popular singer put it this way in one of her songs:
We are stardust.We are goldenAnd we have to get ourselves back to the garden
We are stardust.We are goldenAnd we have to get ourselves back to the garden
Is it the garden of goodness?  Is it the Garden of Eden? Is it the garden of teshuvah?  Or is it the garden of Palestine?  I believe she is referring to all of them.

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