Teshuva Intro

Intro to Teshuva

As long as we are still alive we can repair our lives and atone for our sins. It is a tremendous elevation for the person’s soul for him to repent with all of his heart for any sins that he may have committed in his life in his final moments, whether against G-d or his fellow man.

Doing Teshuva with Our Fellow Man

The person should do whatever he can to seek out whoever he offended and ask them for forgiveness. Our Talmud records that G-d only accepts our teshuva (repentence), once the person we offended has forgiven us (Rosh Hashanah 17b).

Doing Teshuva with G-D

Your loved one should also ask for forgiveness from G-d. Our sages have explained that on all matters that are strictly between the person and G-d, as long as the person does sincere teshuva (repentance), his teshuva will be answered (Yoma 85b). Our sages have informed us that no matter how grave a sin a person may have done “nothing can stand in the way of teshuva.†(Rambam Hilchos Teshuvah 3:14; Yerushalmi Pe’ah 1:1, Sanhedrin 103a).

How To Do Teshuva?

There are differences of opinion among the Rabbis how one does teshuva.[1] The Rambam, one of our greatest Rabbis, outlined the different steps of Teshuva below (For in-depth please see Rambam Teshuva 2:5):

1. Regret: Acknowledging your misdeeds, recognizing the damage, and feeling sincere regret for what you have done.

2. Confession: If it is teshuva between you and G-d, you must verbalize your misdeeds out loud to G-d but soft enough so that no one else can hear you. If it is teshuva between you and someone else, that you must ask forgiveness from the person you wronged directly.

3. Resolution: Sincerely resolve to change your ways. This may involve resolving to stop continuing your misdeeds and coming up with a plan so that you do not revert to your prior ways.

[1] (Rambam Teshuvah 2:2 lists these 3 and abandoning sin. Sha’arei Teshuivah Perek 1 gives 20 steps, and Sefer Charedim and Orchos Tzadikim agree. Sefer ha’Toda’ah (35) lists abandoning sin, regret and Confession. Hakdmas Derech Pikudecha lists abandoning sin, regret and Resolution.)

Disclaimer

The articles are not meant to be halachic rulings, so please contact a posek regarding your situation. Our website is intended to be a helpful guide, but for everything contained in the articles, or to the extent that we inadvertantly made a mistake on one of the articles, please contact your local Orthodox Rabbi regarding it.