Shame on me

This week’s Torah portion (Acharei mot- Kedoshim) conveys the procedures of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. The Ohr Hachaim comments that without this opportunity we would all be damaged and pained by the burden of our sins. God granted us a cleansing procedure to free ourselves of guilt.

 

The burden of guilt

Many of us walk around with constant guilt over our past actions or inactions that have let God, oursleves or others down. We refuse to forgive ourselves and instead carry a burden leading to anxiety, shame, low mood, and poor self-esteem. This guilt prevents us from leaving behind the pain and damage and holds us back from reaching our potential.

 

Formula for forgiveness

Maimonides explains that atonement is achieved through confession, regret of the sin and acceptance not to repeat it. No matter how many times we stumble, the procedure remains the same. Psychology recognizes that guilt is beneficial as a moral compass and a motivator. However, it must be used positively and should not constantly occupy our thoughts. In order to dissolve guilt, we must try our best to rectify the situation and develop a plan to prevent it from recurring. Once that is accomplished there is no benefit in perseverating on the past. Let’s use the God given gift of forgiveness to heal our wounds, and grow spiritually and psychologically.

Ariel Mintz, MD

Founder and President at Refuat Hanefesh
Dr. Ariel Mintz grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After spending two years learning in Israel, at Derech Eitz Chaim and Shaalivim, he earned his BA in Psychology at Yeshiva Univesity in New York. He went on to obtain his MD at Oakland University William Beaumont School of medicine. He is currently a licensed physician working to complete his training in General Psychiatry at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. After that, he hopes to subspecialize in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He has a supportive and talented wife and two wonderful children. He is very passionate about destigmatizing mental illness in the Jewish community and bringing comfort to those who are suffering. Ariel can be reached at [email protected].

Latest posts by Ariel Mintz, MD (see all)

Share your thoughts