In our previous post we introduced a provocative Hebrew wisdom masters koan, “Great is teshuva, for in it intentional sins become great merits.”

Here is the first interpretation to help animate this koan in our lives.

First, there is the great erotic principle of yearning. Sin in Hebrew mysticism is a force of separation and division. Sin separates the human being from her divine source. The further you pull away, the more powerfully the force to return builds. As Isaac Newton said, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The greater the separation, the deeper and more powerful is the yearning to return. (Imagine a rubber band that is pulled taut and then released.) The energy of the fall is transformed into yearning, and the person winds up being a much better person than had they never fallen. In this way through the process of teshuva–implying recognition, regret, and future commitment–intentional sins are transformed into virtues.

The Mystery of Love
Dr. Marc Gafni
Page 300

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at