Sunday, September 24, 2006

Teshuvoh and Mikvah

Barry Fox from R’ Nebentzahl:

Why are the Jewish people afforded the opportunity to do teshuva in special times of ratzon? Even assuming that goyim can do teshuva, as in the case of Ninveh (and as stated by the Brisker Rov in Ki Sisa, here), it seems to be easier for Jews. He explains with a pshat in the Mishna in Yoma “ashreichem Yisroel.” While objects that are tomei need complete immersion, water can become tahor with hashoka. This is because the water becomes a part of the water of the mikveh. Yisroel ve’orayso veKudsha Brich Hu are one, so hashoka will be metaheir by their allowing themselves to become a cheilek of the Ribbono Shel Olam.


  1. Even assuming that goyim can do teshuva, as in the case of Ninveh, it seems to be easier for Jews.

    This would seem to be contraindicated by the subsequent history as recorded in the Tanakh.

  2. And as made explicit in the interpretation that identifies Yona's desire to escape God's will as being his knowledge that if Nineveih repents, they'll soon (as the capital of Ashur) come and destroy the Northern Kingdom of Israel, who will not repent.

  3. You're right. It seems extremely unlikely that teshuva is specific to the Jews. Still, I have been told time and time again that there is a great deal of controversy on the issue, that teshuva is contrary to the concept of din, and that it is a gift granted to us exclusively.

    In any case, the irony is that the novi Nachum is said to have prophesised the demise of Ninveh a few years later, due to their

    The modern Assyrian Christians have a commemoration they call "Ba'utta d'Ninewayah." They (allegedly) fast for three days and nights, to commemorate Yonah's visit to their ethnic capitol, Ninveh. If you know any Assyrians, ask them. Everyone has an uncle who actually fasts the entire three days.

  4. I once heard that the fact the people of ninveh reverted to sin should be an example to us to put all our efforts into teshuva evenif we feel we may not keep all of it.

  5. I don't see why that would inspire us to do teshuvoh. The futility of the lapsed teshuvoh of Ninveh would seem to support the opposite argument.