Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sinner should not Gain

The Gemora (Daf Yomi: Sotah 15a) cites a braisa: Rabbi Shimon said: In truth, the sinner’s minchah should require oil and levonah, for we do not want the sinner to gain. Why then does it not require them? It is because we do not want his minchah to be elegant.

The Gemora (Yoma 86b) states that repentance is so great that willful transgressions can be regarded as merits, providing that one is motivated to repent by love.

The question is asked: How can that be? Isn’t the sinner gaining?

The Maharsha answers: The Gemora does not mean that the sin itself converts into a merit; but rather, through his repentance out of love, he will merit performing other mitzvos and good deeds.

Reb Tzadok Hakohen answers: The sin does convert into a merit. This is because once a person has tasted the pleasure of a sin, it becomes more difficult for him to control himself and not sin again. If, after sinning, one can nevertheless restrain himself from transgressing again, he will merit that his sins are converted into merits.