In order to understand how to do a Tikkun (soul rectification), we must first understand the effects of a sin.
A Tikkun is a fixing of a sin. When one sins a part of their soul and life force is captured by the Sitra Achra (lit. other side). The person’s life force will stay there until it will be taken out and brought back to Kedusha.
In Shaar Ruach Hakodesh the Arizal writes about many sins and how to do tikkunim (plural for Tikkun) for them, thereby getting back the parts of soul and life force.
Before going into the specifics, one important point must be made. These tikkunim are for the correction of the soul. This does not mean that you must not also do Teshuva. You must also do teshuva. To learn more about and how to do Teshuva see this post. The tikkunim are for after you have already done teshuva and you now want to fix your soul.
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The basis of the tikkunim is to fast. For each sin, there is a prescribed amount of fast days.
- For the sin of stealing money, the Tikkun is to fast for 40 days.
- For the sin of anger, the Tikkun is to fast for 151 days.
- For the sin of Lashon Hara, the Tikkun is to fast for 55 days.
- For the sin of having relations with your wife while she is a niddah, the Tikkun is to fast for 82 days.
These fasts do not need to be done consecutively. Each fast if from Alos Hashachar until Tseis Hakochavim. (Before sunrise until nightfall.)
If you have the strength to and can fast, then this is the best. However, many mekuballim have said that today we are weaker and do not have the strength to fast and we should, therefore, give tzedaka (charity) instead.
How much charity should one give?
There are three levels in the amount to give.
- The best amount to give is to determine how much the cost of your food is on an average day and multiply that by the number of fast days you need to fast.
For example: If on an average day the cost of your food is $30 and you did the sins of stealing money (40 days) and anger (151 days), the calculation would be as follows. 30*191=5730. So you should give $5730 to charity.
- If that amount is too much then you should give the cost of the food of a poor man on an average day and multiply that by the number of fast days you need to fast. For example: The average amount a poor man spends on food per day is $7. Using the numbers above 7*191=1337. So you should give $1337 to charity.
- If that is too much then you can give the amount of a Perutah (the smallest amount of money recognized by Torah law) approx. $0.15 for each fast day. To use the numbers above 0.15*191=28.65. So you should give $28.65 to charity.
It is important to remember that the amount that you give should be a large amount for you based on your monetary situation. You should feel it, just as if you would be fasting, it would be hard for you. The more charity you can give the better.
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman of Ladi of blessed memory said “Just like if a person would need to go to the doctor to heal his body and would need a large amount of money for the doctor’s bills, he would find a way to get the money, so too to heal his soul he should find a way to get the money. The problem is that we don’t see our soul as important as our body.”