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Judaism

Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Principle: Courage

This is called a cheshbon banefesh, which is literally an accounting of the soul. Self-examination is an important part of the Jewish tradition. In Avot de Rabbi Natan, it is written: “The eye is shown only what it is capable of seeing and the ear hears only what it is capable of listening to.”

Text or Verse

Rava wrote: "If people see that painful sufferings come to them, let them examine their deeds. “Let us search out our way of life and return to Adonai.” (Lamentations 3:40)
(Psalm 94:12)

If they still find this is not the reason, they may be sure these are sufferings of love. “Adonai loves whomever Adonai corrects.”
(Proverbs 3:12)

Practice

We are taught in Tur Orach Chayim, a Jewish legal code prepared by Yaakov ben Asher:
“Pious ones of old used to meditate and concentrate in prayer until they rid themselves of the physical. They nurtured a spiritual strength that bordered on the level of prophecy.”
Choose a favorite line of sacred text and concentrate on it. Repeat it over and over until it sings like a song on your lips.

Resources

Chabad Organization
The Twelve Steps of A.A. and their Parallels in Jewish and Chassidic Thought
(Go to the Links menu to connect with this site.)

Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. Spirituality, Prayer, The Twelve Steps and Judaism.
(Go to the Links menu to connect with this site.)

Starting Over: Using Torah and the Twelve Steps of Recovery to Find Happiness
(Go to the Links menu to connect with this site.)

Take 12 Steps
Jewish Journal
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