Exalting Our Power to Change

Below is the description of the seminar I shall offer for Rabbinical and Cantorial students at the Abraham Geiger College in Berlin on May 17, 2019. I hope they find it helpful.


Exalting Our Power to Change

Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs D.Min, DD


“Where repentant sinners stand, even the wholly righteous cannot stand.” (Talmud Bavli Berachot 34B)


תשובה – (Teshuvah) Repentance is one of the cardinal principals of Jewish thought. While our tradition calls upon Jews to be aware of our actions and regretful of our wrongdoings at all times, the Days of Awe, culminating in Yom Kippur, is a season when the primary focus of our lives shifts from day to day needs to an intense period of self-examination in which to confess our sins to the Eternal One and resolve to do better in the future.

My Ulpan (intensive Hebrew learning program) teacher in Jerusalem, Sarah Rotbard, of blessed memory once said: “It is not just a gift for Jews that we conceived of the concept of Yom Kippur, it is a gift for all humanity.”

Indeed, our power to grow through our mistakes and change for the better is one of the most hopeful and positive traits of men and women.

Together we shall explore the concept of Teshuvah through biblical narratives and rabbinic teachings. We shall then discuss how they can affect our own lives and the lives of those whom we teach and influence.

6 thoughts on “Exalting Our Power to Change

  1. Quote (excerpted from above): “Where repentant sinners stand, … even the wholly righteous cannot stand” ….

    …. Reminds me dearly of a passage from M. Scotty Peck, M.D.’s book from (1983; p.10): “Self-purification is our greatest weapon against evil.” ….

    …. And — I do believe — that self-purification, … the resultant self-transcendence and self-surpassing-self, … and our Teshuvah, … are intimately related.

    If I could have been amongst your privileged audience, dear Rabbi Fuchs, I would have cared to have heard your delivery, so very very much.

    Mazel Tov ( ❤ ).


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