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As Divided for a Regular Year
Tanya for 1 Av
As to the verse that says,  "My sin is always before me," this does not imply that one ought to be constantly melancholy and humiliated, G-d forbid, for later verses declare,  "Let me hear gladness and joy .....," and  "uphold me with a spirit of magnanimity....."; moreover,  "Throughout one's days one should experience teshuvah [ila'ah]," [a manner of repentance] that is marked by great joy, as noted above.
[How, then, are we to understand that "my sin is always before me"?]
Rather, [the term used for "before me" is] specifically negdi, [which implies being opposite, but at a certain distance], as in the verse that says,  "You shall stand at a distance (mineged)"; or:  "at a distance (mineged) around the Tent of Assembly shall they camp."
Rashi defines the above term [lit., "opposite"] as "at a distance."
[Thus, one should always retain an awareness of his having sinned - but "at a distance," i.e., at the back of his mind].
Hence, the intention [of our verse] is merely that one's heart should not grow haughty, and that he be humble of spirit before all men, because there will be a remembrance between his eyes that he has sinned before G-d.
[Memories of past sin are thus not intended to engender despondency, G-d forbid].
In fact, as far as joy is concerned, the remembrance of one's past sins will be especially effective in encouraging happiness in the face of whatever misfortunes threaten to overtake him, whether from heaven or through the agency of man, whether in speech or in deed.
[Any such physical or verbal offense will be accepted with equanimity when one recalls that he has sinned in the past, and that his present afflictions in fact assist in his atonement].
 (This [humility on account of one's imperfect record] is good counsel that enables a man to be immune to becoming angry or taking offense in any way.....)
As our Sages declare,  "Those who are humiliated yet do not humiliate in turn, who hear their insult and do not retort, who perform out of love and are happy in affliction, [concerning them does Scripture say,  `Those who love Him [shall be] like the sun rising in all its might']."
[Three distinct categories are mentioned here, in ascending order: "Those who are humiliated yet do not humiliate in turn" do respond to the insults of others, but do not retaliate in kind.
Those of the second category "hear their insult and do not retort" at all. Those of the third category actually "are happy in affliction" - because they remember their past sins, and are glad to accept their present suffering as a means of penance.
Moreover,  "whoever passes over his feelings, all his sins are passed over."
- (Back to text) Tehillim 51:5.
- (Back to text) Loc. cit., v. 10.
- (Back to text) Loc. cit., v. 14.
- (Back to text) Cf. Shabbat 153a.
- (Back to text) II Shmuel 18:13.
- (Back to text) Bamidbar 2:2.
- (Back to text) Parentheses are in the original text.
- (Back to text) Shabbat 88b; Gittin 36b.
- (Back to text) Shoftim 5:31.
- (Back to text) Rosh HaShanah 17a.
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