Feb. 12, 2010
On Sunday, March 7, at 7:00 PM, PTS members will have a chance to meet, see and listen to members of the Los Angeles Congregation, Beit T'Shuvah, or, in English, "The House of Return."
The group will present "Freedom Song," an innovative musical production following the inspiring real-life stories of 18 addicts sharing a pass-over night different than all others. These immensely moving stories and songs crystallize the need for a broader understanding of the disease of addiction. More than a play, "Freedom Song" is a real life drama that will open your eyes and change your life.
What is meant by this name, Beit T'Shuvah? What is return?
In the Torah, after the creation (B'reisheet) account is given, we learn about Adam and Eve -- how they lived in the Garden of Eden (Gan Eiden) until God banished them. As soon as they left the Garden, we learn about the first great human tragedy in the Bible.
Adam and Eve had two sons: Cain and Abel. Cain got mad at Abel and hit him. It was not premeditated -- just a moment of uncontrolled anger.
Adam and Eve didn't have death in Gan Eiden, and Cain and Abel would have had no real knowledge of killing or death.
Some Chasidic Rebbes sing a song of how Cain's regretful cries were heard around the world as he screamed, "My brother, get up!" Abel did not get up, and for Cain there would never be a way to return or bring himself or his brother back.
Similarly, when one human being introduces another to addiction it is often without the full knowledge of the harm they have done until it is too late.
Many of our children -- especially during their teen years -- think they are immortal and don't know or think about death and the dangers of momentary, impulsive actions. There are Cain and Abel stories to be heard and seen everyday in every city.
Although Cain was banished, he still married and had a son, Enoch. And Adam and Eve had another son, Seth. In 1947, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found at Qumran. One, which would become known as the Genesis Apocryphon, told stories about what happened to the human race after Cain and Abel.
One account, spoken by Lamech, the son of Methuselah and the father of Noah, tells us that the sons of God married the daughters of men. Some interpret this to mean the children of Seth married into the line of Enoch -- that there was and still is a little bit of Cain and Abel in all people. This condition might have brought on the Flood and the Noah story.
Beit T'Shuvah has worked miracles for so many lost and confused people of all ages and Religions. Every counselor and therapist at Beit T'Shuvah is a former addict. They have completed courses of accreditation, but there is something else.
They have lived through the darkness and most -- if not all -- have lived as residents of Beit T'Shuvah and they are now giving back: Cains and Abels (who feel like them every day) reaching out to each other to show the way to return. It is everyone at Beit T'Shuvah doing Teshuvah.
The shepherd of this flock is Rabbi Mark Borovitz, an ex-addict and ex-con, who, upon his release from prison, started the rehab house that was to become Beit T'Shuvah. No other place has such a return rate. It is "12-Step Meets the Torah" and so much more.
Rabbi Raiskin z"l brought Rabbi Borowitz up from L.A. to speak to an Adult Ed group after he published his book, The Holy Thief.
On Page 1, the Rabbi writes, "The thing I regret most is the family and friends I have lied to and have hurt. An ocean of apologies will never be enough; all I can do is try to fix myself."