Before Rosh Hashanah (New Year) it’s customary to repent for one’s sins and ask for forgiveness.
From Rabash’s article “Request for Forgiveness”: If a person asks the Creator for His forgiveness, it means that he realizes the true reason for his sins. If he lacks complete faith, then he prays to the Creator to give him power to obtain faith in his heart.
Herein lies the difference between someone who has already obtained faith (property of bestowal) and thus is called “Israel” (aspiring towards the Creator) and someone who hasn’t obtained faith and thus is called “Gentile” (“stranger,” meaning the one with a different set of desires since the desire [Ratzon] comes from the word Aretz [land] and therefore, “Gentile” is the one who doesn’t aspire towards the Creator).
Those who attained permanent faith are able to tell the difference between two levels of spiritual development and bless the Creator for being able to ascend from the level called “Gentile” to the level “Israel”: “Thank you, my Lord, for not making me a Gentile.”
A “stranger” is a person who acts for his own sake; “Israel” or “Yehudi” is the one who wants to unite with the Creator in order to bestow to Him. Both parts are present in each person: the uncorrected part (where egoism rules) and the corrected one (where the property of bestowal governs).
This constitutes the difference between a “stranger” and “Israel” and is an indicator of all our sins. We have to always keep to the middle. This type of self-analysis signifies the beginning of a New Year (new change).
Everybody has to feel like a “Babylonian” who faces the choice of where to go: follow Abraham and become “Israel” (the one who seeks the Creator, the quality of bestowal) or follow the path of the rest of the world, the path of egoism.
Everything is measured only relative to the property of the Creator (bestowal), that is, the extent to which we want this property to control and direct us in everything we do, consciously or not. We have to imagine the Creator only as an internal force that governs a person, rather than as an external influence.
It is obvious that a person sins not by having egoistic desires since he was created this way. However, if he chooses to stay within his egoism, then it is called a sin. The first time it happens it’s not called a “sin” (as it is said about Adam HaRishon’s sin); it is only the first clarification of the action, its cause and consequence. But when I have already revealed my sin (ego) and agree with its governance over me, then it means that I’ve “sinned.” This is a test that shows what I really strive for.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/9/10, “Preparation for Repentance”
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