This week I want to speak about the power of Tshuva, and what it can accomplish.

First of all, Tshuva was created before the creation of the world because Tshuva is the tikkun of the world. It relates to the world within each person, and it’s not simply a matter of fixing up something wrong.

Instead, Tshuva is a whole separate, unique creation, according to the Slonim Rebbe, as well as a way to fix up our sins.

We know that the place where the Baal Tshuva stands, the Masters of Return, even the righteous one cannot stand in such a place. The Baal Tshuva have “been there and done that,” and made a choice not to do so any longer.

When they made that choice, they raised up buried and hidden sparks, which the righteous ones could never get to because they haven’t been to those places.

So, where the Baal Tshuva stands, the ones who really came back, who really made the move, they stand as a holy creature with no flaws, with a new soul and a new, above-nature personality. They access the roots of Creation at the highest levels, with the ability to change everything.

They have changed themselves, changed their own nature, their place, their name and the reality of their situation. All this may be what it takes for a returnee to get where he or she is going.

To get to these levels is the work of a lifetime.

Here in Jerusalem there’s a certain Baal Tshuva yeshiva where, many years ago, one of the students met up with one of the great Rebbes of the time. The Rebbe asked him, “Are you a Baal Tshuva?” And the student mistakenly thought that would give him a lower status, so he denied it.

Then the Rebbe asked, “Why not? Why don’t you rise to the occasion and be a true Baal Tshuva?” His questions showed respect for the fact that Baal Tshuva can get to a place that others cannot reach.  One reason they can do so is because they can’t stand living in a world of deception, living a lie. They have to be true to themselves.

Instead of putting up a front, they acknowledge their place and start from there. They have come to realize the severity of sin, of missing the mark.

One of the ways of becoming a Baal Tshuva is in the sound of the shofar. It is a primal scream; it’s like primal scream therapy, in a way, because it uproots the darkness in our souls and allows us to rise up and out of the darkness.

A Baal Tshuva, as a Master of Return, can bring healing to the whole world and has more power to bring healing because they went into the darkness and hiddenness and came back with revelation. The ones who can dig up and extract revelation from the darkness and hiddenness while refusing to embrace them don’t budge until they reveal the reality of G-d’s light in everything, everywhere.