The Jewish Eye
The Brother Of The Vilna Gaon - Tshuvah Of Old, Tshuvah Of Today
Rav Avrohom Rogoler was the brother the Vilna Gaon and a great tzaddik in his own right. He wrote a kuntras called Ma'alas HaTorah explaining the importance of Limud HaTorah. In the Hakdama he writes that the cornerstone of tshuvah today is Limud HaTorah. It is impossible, he says, to acquire any good middos, only through Torah.
In these days he says (250 years ago), it is already impossible to do Tshuvas HaMishkal. Tshuvas HaMishkal means to perform an opposite and equal action or deed that balances the aveira you have done. Our aveiros are so numerous that in a single lifetime we do not have the ability to do Tshuvas HaMishkal. For example, he says, Tshuvas HaMishkal for a single utterance of Leitzanus is 120 fast days according to the Kadmonim. Anger requires 151 fast days. Speaking Divrei Chol in a Shul demands 40 fast days. Says Rav Avrohom Rogoler, "If we lived 1,000 years twice over, we wouldn't be able to fast the amount of days we are required to fast."
Just like the gemara says in Bava Kama (94b), we do not accept money from a Gazlan or money lender who charges interest because they would never do tshuva since it would be impossible to pay back all those they owe money to. So too fasting is not the tshuva Hashem requires from our generation, says the Arizal, since we cannot afford to pay back that way. Torah is our solution for today. Like we say in Selichos, "V'Ein Lanu Shiur Rak HaTorah HaZos", we have nothing remaining except for the Torah.
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