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Three Barriers to Healing

When our relationship is right with HaKadosh Baruch Hu and we have true atonement for our averoh, there are often three major barriers to experiencing His healing of our neshumeh.

1. Repentance

All healing requires tshuvoh. This might seem obvious, but perhaps it helps to define tshuvoh a little. Real tshuvoh does not mean changing our clothes or just keeping a few more mitzvos. It means a real recognition of what we've done, or what we're doing against HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

If you've arrived at this page, you're probably aware all is not right in your situation. It may be that you think we're all justified in doing what we do wrong, because others have hurt us, or because we're unhappy, or because we figure its HaKadosh Baruch Hu's fault. But maybe your derech so far has not brought you real joy, or a sense of really being in the presence of HaKaddosh Baruch Hu.

Yeshayohu hanovi puts it this way in perek נט, psukim ג-ב:

"…But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your Ribbono Shel Olam, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness…"

כִי אִם עֲוֹנֹתֵיכֶם הָיו מַבְדִלִים בֵינֵכֶם לְבֵין אֱ'ם וְחַטֹאותֵיכֶם הִסְתִירו פָנִים מִכֶם מִשְמוֹעַ: כִי כַפֵיכֶם נְגֹאֲלו בַדָם וְאֶצְבְעוֹתֵיכֶם בֶעָוֹן שִפְתוֹתֵיכֶם דִבְרו שֶקֶר לְשוֹנְכֶם עַוְלָה תֶהְגֶה:

If we're wondering why HaKadosh Baruch Hu seems far from us, here's the reason. We need to recognize it. We need to be real with ourselves and with Ribbono Shel Olam. He tells us "Not one of us is a tzaddik."

כִי אָדָם אֵין צַדִיק בָאָרֶץ אֲשֶר יַעֲשֶה טוֹב וְלֹא יֶחֱטָא:

Koheles perek ז, posek כ.

We need to be real and say to HaKadosh Baruch Hu what we've said and done. (After all He knows it already, so what's the point of trying to keep it a secret from Him?) Then we need to turn to Him and ask forgiveness, not because of any tzidkus of our own, but just because of His faithful loving-kindness (חסד), and mercy (רחמים). This turning to Him or tshuvoh needs to be heartfelt.

We can be encouraged and put our full trust in Him because of His character. For example HaKadosh Baruch Hu says about Himself:

"…HaKadosh Baruch Hu passed before him and proclaimed, "HaKadosh Baruch Hu, HaKadosh Baruch Hu, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in unchanging love and faithfulness, keeping unchanging love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but Who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation…"

Shmos perek לד, psukim ז-ו.

ה' ה' אֵל רַחום וְחַנון אֶרֶךְ אַפַיִם וְרַב חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת: נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים נֹשֵא עָוֹן וָפֶשַע וְחַטָאָה וְנַקֵה לֹא יְנַקֶה פֹקֵד עֲוֹן אָבוֹת עַל בָנִים וְעַל בְנֵי בָנִים עַל שִלֵשִים וְעַל רִבֵעִים:


"…Yisroel, HaKadosh Baruch Hu who created you says, 'Do not be afraid---I will save you. I have called you by name - you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through fire, you will not be burned; the hard trials that come will not hurt you. For I am HaKadosh Baruch Hu your Ribbono Shel Olam, the Holy One of Yisroel, who saves you…' "

Yeshayohu perek מג, posek ג-א.

וְעַתָּה כֹּה אָמַר ה' בֹּרַאֲךָ יַעֲקֹב וְיֹצֶרְךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל אַל תִּירָא כִּי גְאַלְתִּיךָ קָרָאתִי בְשִׁמְךָ לִי אָתָּה: כִּי תַעֲבֹר בַּמַּיִם אִתְּךָ אָנִי וּבַנְּהָרוֹת לֹא יִשְׁטְפוּךָ כִּי תֵלֵךְ בְּמוֹ אֵשׁ לֹא תִכָּוֶה וְלֶהָבָה לֹא תִבְעַר בָּךְ: כִּי אֲנִי ה' אֱלֹקֶיךָ קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל מוֹשִׁיעֶךָ ...

If you want to know more about tshuvoh click here.

2. Forgiveness of others

This is a really tough one. The worse the offense against us the harder it is to forgive. In fact we have to ask, 'What is forgiveness?' and 'Should we forgive?'

Yeshua gives a hard teaching:

"Do not judge others, so that HaKadosh Baruch Hu will not judge you, for HaKadosh Baruch Hu will judge you in the same way you judge others, and He will apply to you the same rules you apply to others. Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How dare you say to your brother, 'Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,' when you have a log in your own eye? You chonef (two-faced)! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

Mattisyohu perek ז, psukim ה-א.

Is this really what the Tanach teaches? We have many examples such as this one in Shoftim.

"Adoni-vezek said, 'Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. HaKadosh Baruch Hu has now done to me what I did to them.' He was taken to Yerushalayim, where he died."

Shoftim perek א, posek ז.

וַיֹאמֶר אֲדֹנִי בֶזֶק שִבְעִים מְלָכִים בְהֹנוֹת יְדֵיהֶם וְרַגְלֵיהֶם מְקֻצָצִים הָיו מְלַקְטִים תַחַת שֻלְחָנִי כַאֲשֶר עָשִיתִי כֵן שִלַם לִי אֱ'ים וַיְבִיאֻהו יְרושָלַםִ וַיָמָת שָם:

We have heard it said, "An eye for an eye." Yeshua gives a chiddush on this posek too.

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But now I tell you: do not take revenge on someone who wrongs you. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek too…You have heard that it was said, 'Love your friends, hate your enemies.' But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven."

Mattisyohu perek ה, psukim לח-מה.

Yeshua reminds us of psukim in the Tanach such as Mishlei perek כה, psukim כב-כא. "If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink. You will make them burn with shame, and the LORD will reward you."

אִם רָעֵב שנַאֲךָ הַאֲכִלֵהו לָחֶם וְאִם צָמֵא הַשְקֵהו מָיִם: כִי גֶחָלִים אַתָה חֹתֶה עַל רֹאשוֹ וַה' יְשַלֶם לָךְ:

Hatred and unforgiveness just eats us up and doesn't even hurt those much who have hurt us. Instead like a cancer, it becomes the focus of our attention and can even drive our actions. How many times have you sworn never to be like someone who hurt you, and you've ended up being just like that person? That happens to all of us when we allow ourselves to hold anger and hatred. It poisons us and keeps us locked in a prison of darkness in which we despair. But we do have hope. Moshiach came to set captives free.

רוּחַ אֲדֹשם ה' עָלָי יַעַן מָשַׁח ה' אֹתִי לְבַשֵּׂר עֲנָוִים שְׁלָחַנִי לַחֲבֹשׁ לְנִשְׁבְּרֵי לֵב לִקְרֹא לִשְׁבוּיִם דְּרוֹר וְלַאֲסוּרִים פְּקַח קוֹחַ: לִקְרֹא שְׁנַת רָצוֹן לַה' וְיוֹם נָקָם לֵאלֹקֵינוּ לְנַחֵם כָּל אֲבֵלִים: לָשׂוּם לַאֲבֵלֵי צִיּוֹן לָתֵת לָהֶם פְּאֵר תַּחַת אֵפֶר שֶׁמֶן שָׂשׂוֹן תַּחַת אֵבֶל מַעֲטֵה תְהִלָּה תַּחַת רוּחַ כֵּהָה...

"HaKadosh Baruch Hu Ribbono Shel Olam has filled me with His Spirit. He has chosen me and sent me to bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, to announce release to captives and freedom to those in prison. He has sent me to proclaim that the time has come when HaKadosh Baruch Hu will save his people and defeat their enemies. He has sent me to comfort all who mourn, to give to those who mourn in Zion joy and gladness instead of grief, a song of praise instead of sorrow"

Yeshayohu perek סא, psukim ג-א.

Forgiveness of those who have really wronged us or hurt us is a superhuman effort. We need to trust that HaKadosh Baruch Hu will work out His justice perfectly in His time. We need to recognize we don't have any claim to be particularly perfect ourselves and that we need His mercy and forgiveness. And in experiencing this we can ask for His power to help us truly forgive and release those who have hurt us. It's often a process, but this process sets captives free.

To receive a DVD or video of survivors of the Shoah who learned this lesson first hand click here.

3. Forgiveness of ourself

The third great barrier to experiencing healing is the lack of forgiveness of ourself and self-hatred. Just as it is an averoh (sin) to refuse to forgive others, so it is an averoh (sin) to refuse to forgive ourselves.

We know that we are created in the image of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. (See Bereshis perek א, posek לא.) That doesn't mean we are the same as Him, but it means we are special and that He says we are a good creation. For many of us this can be very hard to believe. Perhaps we always felt condemned by one or both parents, a grandparent, another family member. Perhaps we experienced worse. Perhaps we had a great family but others in society "inside" or "outside" have injured us in words or actions.

One of the consequences of deep hurts is some strange capacity to believe that we "deserved" it. Another linked problem is our capacity to repeat those bad patterns we experience. This leads to a downward spiral of self-condemnation as we find ourselves unable to break out of the pattern we hate. The unhealthy consequence of all of this is that we hate ourself. We end up not caring about ourself or about others, and finally not even about HaKadosh Baruch Hu. This does not make us happy and it doesn't even make us feel "free" for long. Has it worked for you?

The problem that follows from this puts us in an impossible place. We feel we need to get ourselves right to come to HaKadosh Baruch Hu, but we find ourselves completely unable to do that, and so the downward spiral continues. This is where the good news of Moshiach we read in Yeshayohu perek סא, is so encouraging. HaKadosh Baruch Hu has made a way to smash through this downward spiral.

First we need to recognize He knows us in every detail and He loves us just as we are. He does not love everything we think or do, but He loves us and we do not have to be perfect to approach Him.

Click here to read Tehilloh קל"ט and see.

Secondly we need to be sure we have genuinely come to HaKadosh Baruch Hu, have admitted our averoh (sin) to Him, and have asked forgiveness.

Thirdly, we need to KNOW that He has forgiven us. Here's another problem. How can we know for sure? There's a lesson here for us in Vayikra perek טז.

During this perek we learn how the Cohen Gadol had to sprinkle blood on the altar in Beis HaMikdosh in order to make atonement for Yisroel. The next perek of Vayikra reminds us why we're not supposed to eat blood.

"The life of every living thing is in the blood, and that is why the LORD has commanded that all blood be poured out on the altar to take away the people's sins. Blood, which is life, takes away sins."

כִי נֶפֶש הַבָשָר בַדָם הִוא וַאֲנִי נְתַתִיו לָכֶם עַל הַמִזְבֵחַ לְכַפֵר עַל נַפְשֹתֵיכֶם כִי הַדָם הוא בַנֶפֶש יְכַפֵר:

Vayikra perek יז, posek יא.

In order to know He has forgiven us we need to know our averoh has been atoned for and that can only happen with blood despite some more recent teachings. To confirm this posek in Torah just see passages like Yoma א/ה, Gittin א/ו, Ksuvos ב/צג.

...והלא אין כפרה אלא בדם שנאמר כי הדם הוא בנפש יכפר...

Now you may say that this was true when Beis HaMikdosh was still standing, but there is nothing to say it is still not true today. Here is an interesting quote from Talmud Bavli, Berachos ב/לב.

וא"ר אלעזר מיום שחרב בית המקדש ננעלו שערי תפלה שנאמר גם כי אזעק ואשוע שתם תפלתי ואע"פ ששערי תפלה ננעלו שערי דמעה לא ננעלו שנאמר שמעה תפלתי ה' ושועתי האזינה אל דמעתי אל תחרש רבא לא גזר תעניתא ביומא דעיבא משום שנא' סכותה בענן לך מעבור תפלה: וא"ר אלעזר מיום שחרב בית המקדש נפסקה חומת ברזל בין ישראל לאביהם שבשמים שנא' ואתה קח לך מחבת ברזל ונתתה אותה קיר ברזל בינך ובין העיר:

"R. Eleazar also said: From the day on which the Temple was destroyed the gates of prayer have been closed, as it says, Yea, when I cry and call for help He shutteth out my prayer. But though the gates of prayer are closed, the gates of weeping are not closed, as it says, Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; keep not silence at my tears. Raba did not order a fast on a cloudy day because it says, Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud so that no prayer can pass through.

R. Eleazar also said: Since the day that the Temple was destroyed, a wall of iron has intervened between Yisroel and their Father in Heaven, as it says, And take thou unto thee an iron griddle, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city."

Prayer is not enough for atonement. We need blood atonement as the Torah says, and since Beis HaMikdosh was destroyed we can't make it at Yom Kippur.

The other lesson we can learn from Vayikra perek טז, is that the Cohen Gadol had to come out alive from Beis HaMikdosh after making atonement for Yisroel. This is how Yisroel knew that the sacrifice of the goat for HaKadosh Baruch Hu was accepted, along with the transfer of averoh onto the goat for azazel.

To summarize, we need blood sacrifice for atonement of our sin and for the Cohen Gadol to be alive after making atonement to know our averoh is paid for and we are forgiven. Yeshua fulfilled both these things. As we learned in Yeshayohu perek נג, Moshiach died for our sins and all our sin was transferred on him. As we see prophesied Yeshua HaMoshiach then rose from the dead. (See for example the same passage in Yeshayohu and also Tehillim perek טז.) Our Cohen Gadol was raised to life after making atonement as the way HaKadosh Baruch Hu shows us He has accepted this atonement made on our behalf.

Lastly, if we KNOW this, and we put our trust in HaKadosh Baruch Hu and in the atonement Moshiach Yeshua made for our sins, we KNOW we are written in Sefer HaChaim. If HaKadosh Baruch Hu has gone to this expense to forgive us, it is an averoh for us to refuse to forgive ourself. If we hate ourself we need to admit to HaKadosh Baruch Hu that averoh and ask Him to forgive us and to help us see ourself as He sees us and RECEIVE His forgiveness. He accepts us on the basis of what Yeshua did and not on the basis of our own mitzvohs or lack of them.

Being accepted by HaKadosh Baruch Hu means we are loved and forgiven. In receiving Yeshua as our Moshiach HaKadosh Baruch Hu says He circumcises our heart and we will experience the Bris Chidushoh mentioned in Yermiyohu perek לא, posek לב where HaKadosh Baruch Hu will write His Torah on and in our heart and help us to grow in obedience by His power and not by ours alone.


All of this is a process, and we need not only the help of HaKadosh Baruch Hu to grow in healing and wholeness, but the help of others who have a real solid relationship with Him in Moshiach. It is an encouragement also to hear how HaKadosh Baruch Hu has worked in seemingly impossible situations in the lives of others step by step.

Tehillim קל"ט>>