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Teshuva: To the Abyss and Back

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Teshuva: To the Abyss and Back
By Rabbi Ari Kahn
Voices from Jerusalem, (1999)
Aish HaTorah Media Center
A Live Lecture on 1 Audio Cassette - Tape# KI973C

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - December 31, 2001

Teshuva: To the Abyss and Back is part of a series of lectures that Rabbi Ari Kahn gave on the subject of Teshuva (repentance). Rabbi Kahn is a respected scholar, teacher and lecturer who's style of teaching is lively and he is not beyond kibitzing with his audience. This lecture, Teshuva: To the Abyss and Back was recorded before a live, mixed audience of men and women. Throughout he pauses to answer questions from the audience, to illuminate some of the more difficult aspects of this discourse.

The essence of this lecture is the question, What is Teshuva and how is it achieved? And, is there ever a point that, once crossed, in which Teshuva becomes impossible? In discussing this issue, Rabbi Kahn offers an explanation of what the soul is, our relationship with G-d, and what the purpose is behind Teshuva. He also discusses the nature of sin, and the damaging effect it can have upon the soul.

This lesson is conducted primarily through the study of one passage from the Talmud, which the Rabbi reads in Hebrew, and then offers an English translation. Which reads, in part, "Whoever goes to this place (abyss) will not return (cannot come out). And, if they come out, they cannot achieve a long life..." Rabbi Kahn offers an in-depth analysis of this passage and how it applies to the topic being discusses. Throughout, the lecture is sprinkled with Hebrew, but in each case, Rabbi Kahn offers an English translation of the word - thereby making this lecture readily accessible to individuals who do not know Hebrew. As well, his Hebrew is clear and he speaks slowly so that those who are just learning Hebrew should be able to follow his readings without difficulty.

Rabbi Kahn is a delightful speaker, who has a knack for translating difficult ideas into understandable and readily digestible tidbits. This lecture is infused with humor and understanding, and it will help you to understand the nature and importance of Teshuva, both as an intellectual subject and as a part of your own spiritual growth.

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