Is there teshuva/tikkun for timtum halev (specifically for forbidden foods)? Please cite sources.


Rav Pesach Feinhandler in Avnei Yasfei 3:76 writes that he does not see why teshuva doesn't help. He brings a proof from chelev (forbidden fats) that if one ate cheilev (shogeg) he can bring a korban chatas and the Torah (Vayikra 4:35) already says that one gets a kapparah (atonement). If one can get a kapparah by chelev which has an issur of kares ,then certainly by other machalos assuros which only carry a lav can certainly be atoned for with teshuva.

Text of teshuva:

enter image description here

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    That's the pashtus – Shlomy Jan 4 at 1:20
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    Who says that kaparah is the same as tikkun for timtum halev? – Alex Jan 4 at 2:05
  • Rav Pesach Feinhandler for one.....pashut reading – sam Jan 4 at 2:31
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    Sure, he says it, but meheicha teisi? The whole point of timtum halev, as I understand it, is that it's not meant to be a "punishment" for doing something "wrong"; it's just a metzius - certain things objectively have a negative spiritual effect (see my answer to the question linked in Fred's comment above). You can confess, regret, and resolve not to do something wrong again, and God may forgive you, but when it comes to timtum halev what is there to forgive? – Alex Jan 4 at 4:43
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    @Alex, exactly why I couldn't "get into" Qabbalah. Too much attention to causalities other than Rachamim and Din. Unlike physical causality, where predictability is necessary for bechirah, I just don't see any point to metaphysical causality. It just puts my attention on somewhere other than my own choosing of Good over Evil. – Micha Berger Jan 4 at 14:03

There is a famous story about Rb Akiva Eiger in which a boy was unable to progress with his learning and it was determined this was because he had eaten non-kosher food at a chasunah (by mistake).

I believe the tikkun recommended by Rb Akiva Eiger was for the boy to go into galus to learn Torah (i.e. to go to a far away yeshiva).

The idea behind this seems to be something along the lines of the following thoughts in the hakdamah to Nephesh Ha'Chaim

enter image description here

I.e. since galus is yissurim ha'me'ma'atim hergesh ha'ta'anug it is a tikkun for a kilkul in the chush ha'taanug gufah, and therefore can re-open one's heart to Torah.

  • It should be noted that the provenance of this story is highly questionable, and indeed it has been argued that at least certain details of it were simply made up. – Meir Jan 4 at 1:59
  • @Meir I heard this story twice. Once from a Primary school rebbe and once from Reb Eli Baruch Finkel z"l. The details were slightly different but the basic story was the same. – The GRAPKE Jan 4 at 2:57
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    I hear. The question, of course, would be whether they got it from the same (dubious) source - and in fairness to them, it's not all that obvious that it's dubious. Here's an essay about it by R. Yehoshua Mondshine a"h; see also the comments, and make of it what you will. – Meir Jan 4 at 17:31
  • @Meir It's not the sort of story that you would be very motivated to make up – The GRAPKE Jan 4 at 21:30

If your question is understood properly, being careful to consume only chalav Yisroel dairy products would be the appropriate response.

Although I don’t have the sources in front of me at the moment to give specific references, this is discussed both in Igrot Moshe (the responsa of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein) and in the Igrot Kodesh of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Bli neder, when I have the time and if I remember, I will update this with the appropriate citations.

Anyone having the time and sources, please feel free to drop them into this answer.

  • How does this answer the question? – Shlomy Apr 1 at 16:50
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    @ Shloimy It's a tikkun related to the issue of "timtum HaLev".The consumption of Chalav Yisroel helps to remedy that symptom. – Yaacov Deane Apr 1 at 19:35
  • Got it. I didn't understand you were saying that.. it's big chiddush. Just drinking kosher milk is a remedy for timtum. – Shlomy Apr 1 at 22:08

In a discourse on Shabbos Shemini 5716, the Lubavitcher Rebbe recommends three different approaches to deal with Timtum Halev (the state of insensitivity in which one’s heart is dull and unresponsive to his contemplation of G-d’s greatness):

  1. “A wooden beam which does not catch fire should be splintered, and similarly, a body into which the light of the soul does not penetrate should be crushed” (Zohar)

Based on this zohar the Rebbe recommends, one should crush and quell the sitra achara within one’s animal soul (located in the left side of one's heart) by humbling his own spirit through intellectual contemplation. This crushing allows the g-dly soul (which is found in the right side of one heart) to break through the blockage in the heart and shine throughout the person. (See chapter 29 of Tanya (another great source on how to get rid of timtum halev) and the quote of the maamar below on many contemplations to break one's spirit.)

  1. The mind is the key to the emotions of the heart. Therefore, through continuously contemplating about the greatness of g-d and lofty ideas in general, their light will ultimately break through the heart of stone.

  2. Through saying words of Torah, the light of the Torah will reach the heart of stone, and even the heart of stone will surely melt.

Part of the above-quoted discourse: enter image description here

P.S I would also recommend learning more about timtum halev. It is described at length in the sources above and affects people not only eating non-kosher food but also those who do sins in general. (See Yoma 39a: עֲבֵירָה מְטַמְטֶמֶת לִבּוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם)

P.P.S If these approaches don't help then it is a sign that this individual not only has timtum halev but also has timtum hamoach (blockage of one's mind). For different solutions to timtum hamoach continue reading the discourse.

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