In Teshuvah, we go through some of the same stages as in mourning, but it is for ourselves that we mourn—for the loss of our better selves, for our mistakes and their consequences. Eventually, we reach a stage where all the regret, despair, grief, and longing to make right can find expression. We express the inner turmoil and make it concrete and real, and at the same time reach closure with it. We acknowledge our mistakes and their consequences, our wrong-turns and blind allies, and by speaking them aloud, we take possession of them.
Is there room in Judaism for the quest to transcend life, to let go of all the ties to earthly existence? The yearning for transcendence has been embodied in the Kabbalah, and later in the Hassidic movement which grew out of the attempt to actualize the Kabbalistic worldview. However, the mystical tendency has usually been marginalized in practice. Why? The answer may lie in the connection between death and transcendence.