Sometimes, being overwhelmed with guilt makes one unable to act. Other times, guilt manipulates and attempts to control. It might offer a sense of responsibility and concern. More often than not, guilt comes bundled in small doses of should-haves and could-haves.
For example, when you feel guilty for skipping exercise and instead lay in front of the television binge-watching your new favorite show. It’s not the end of the world, but you really should have gone and exercised. Or, when you feel bad for getting into a fight with a friend and saying something mean when you could have done otherwise. In general, I think there is such a thing as a healthy amount of guilt which spurs right actions, sincere apologies, forgiveness and knowledge of the good.
Jewish tradition generally agrees with me that a measured amount of guilt is often quite helpful. Guilt instructs us in right and wrong and guides us to be more responsible, more mature individuals. Indeed, it even clues us into a better understanding of G-d. Continue reading “On Guilt and G-d, the Parent by Ivy Helman.”