Teshuva for previous lifestyle
9 March, 2005
I was raised in a secular household in a small town without any religious Jews. I lived a lifestyle that I'm not proud of which included pre-marital sex with non-Jews, and drugs. I have been clean for quite some time now, and am leading a more religious life. Are there any practices or brachot that can make me more clean? I am dating someone who is religious, and I want him to know who I was, but I also want him to see that I have changed and repented. I also need it for myself. I know I am a good person now, but my terrible memories haunt me. I need to feel clean in the eyes of Hashem.
Yashar koach on making such an impressive journey.
A classic Jewish act of repentance is the giving of tzedakah (charity) and the performing of chessed (good deeds). Additionally, in your situation, we highly encourage developing a close relationship with a rabbi or female religious teacher. He or she can help guide you to a lifestyle fully expressive of all the good within you. You will also value his or her guidance in internalizing a positive view of sexuality, far removed from the terrible or haunting, consistent with an observant lifestyle.
Although your memories cannot be erased, with time you can learn to transform them and give them meaning, by building on your wide array of experiences to help improve the world.
This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.
For further questions or comments:
The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.
Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.