One of the greatest ‘unknowns’ of sin is revealed in the Zohar HaKadosh, Parshat Pinchas. When a person sins he draws onto himself ‘ruach tumah’, an impure spirit. This impurity directs a person towards arrogance. Therefore the initial stages of teshuva must include a crushing of haughtiness; in other words a broken heart filled with humility.
Let’s understand – this essence of impurity rules man. It affects all avenues of his life; decisions, emotions, values, desires, etc. The only way to free oneself from the grips of superiority is to recall Hashem’s greatness and mankind’s eternal dependency on Hashem for everything. In fact when Ahm Yisrael would bringkorbanot to the Beit HaMikdash to atone for their transgressions, the condition that Hashem accept them was that they come with a broken heart. In the event not, thekorban was given to the dogs, literally. Hashem does not ‘need’ the korban, but ‘yearns’ that the spirit of impurity cease control over the person.
A broken heart though must not exceed certain guidelines. Indeed, the Kotzer Rebbe ztk’l who was known to say, ‘There is nothing more whole than a broken heart’ also taught it is never a positive thing to dwell too much on our sins for then we begin to take on an added negative power over our soul. Some signs to watch for; when an inner voice echoes refusal to forgive, one finds himself distant from Hashem’s warm forgiveness and feels lost, or one finds himself drawn more so to acts of wickedness because his relationship with Hashem has weakened as opposed to strengthened through teshuva.
The passuk in Tehillim 82 reads, “You are G-dlike beings, all of you sons of the most High”. We are all Hashem’s children. We get lost sometimes. Through fair self-judgment we can find our way home.