Rabash, “Shlavei HaSulam,” 1985-1986, Article 36, “What is Preparation for Forgiveness”: When the person comes to ask the Creator to forgive him for his error against him and a defect in his respect for the Creator, blessed be He, the person needs to think thoughts about what his error was regarding the Creator.
I ask forgiveness not for the defects with which I was born, that are found from the start in my nature. I don’t relate to them (Genesis 8:21) “…for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth… .” I don’t relate to the evil inclination itself, rather only to my effort: Could I have already risen above my evil inclination to build “screens” and to acquire the relationship of bestowal, love, and connection above the evil inclination? Could I have acted according to the principle, “Love covers over all transgressions,” (Proverbs 10:12)?
Specifically if I have been negligent in this effort, I need to express remorse and to ask for forgiveness, and I need to cry about this. The “sorrow of the Shechina” is not that She prepared for us the shattered state, the defect, but in that we don’t try to lift Her from the dust according to the conditions with which it is possible for us to do this.
The Light that Reforms arrives according to my effort. If it doesn’t arrive with connection to it, it shows me the general shattering that was made by the Creator. In contrast to this, when the Light that Reforms arrives according to the effort that I make or don’t make, it reveals to me only my part, the effort that I didn’t give and could have given.
It is not necessary to be sorry about my being born not to be successful in something—for example, not being physically strong, not wise enough, or without a good memory and skill for learning; there is no need to complain about this. If they didn’t give me something, this is a sign that I don’t need this. If I don’t have particular skills and I have difficulty because of this, it’s obvious I have to work in these conditions throughout my life.
My personality traits don’t attest to my being good or bad. It could be that I was born lazy, a spendthrift, overbearing, and so on. Essentially the fact that I was born with these characteristics is already a sign that I don’t need to relate to this. It is not up to me to correct them. It is up to me to correct only my participation in what they reveal to me beyond my nature. If there, beyond it, I am lazy, then I need to make a sacrifice about this laziness, and regarding this lack of participation, I need to cry on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). I ask for forgiveness not for my bad characteristics with which I was born but about what I truly could have corrected when I received the opportunity from Heaven and I didn’t actualize it.
Therefore, whoever doesn’t make an effort, he does not reveal evil found in him. And someone who does make an effort discovers that he is evil—and this is only to the degree that he could have made a correction and didn’t correct it.
We are not responsible for correcting all that the spiritual systems have damaged before us. This is damage to the general system. Rather we correct what is imposed upon us, then the entire system will be corrected. You see, it was damaged since a component entered into it that is called Adam. Therefore when we correct the participation of the person in the system, we correct everything.
Question: How is regret linked to relationships between the friends?
Answer: As is written, Yom Kippur does not correct the errors of the person related to his friend. I must be sorry about what I apparently caused and at the same time remember that this was also done by the Creator. This way or another I am not sorry that I discovered that I am evil. I am sorry about feeling that the gap between me and the Creator is still found in me. And so I correct it.
And this says that even in the discovery of the evil, I must feel joy.
Question: There is no one who hasn’t done something bad to another person, even unintentionally. How can I atone for this? How do I ask for forgiveness?
Answer: A person does this through reaching connection. This is his compensation. There is no need to and no deed that can atone for what I did. All the evil that I did caused separation. All the good that I can do: This is only to cause unity. The forms and ways of evil and good are not important; the main thing is specifically unity or separation. If you do it this way, you will not err.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/13/13, Writings of Rabash