The Cycle Of Teshuvah

Teshuvah, or Repentance

In Jewish tradition, repentance is called Teshuvah, a Hebrew word translated as “retuning.” One of the Hebrew words for sin is chet, which in Hebrew means “to go astray.” The idea of repentance in Jewish thought is a return to the path of righteousness.

Teshuvah can be done at any time, but the High Holiday season, and Yom Kippur especially, is considered an especially auspicious time for it. The process of repentance, is laid out in three stages:

  • Confession
  • Regret
  • And A Vow not to repeat the misdeed

The true penitent, is the one who finds himself with the opportunity to commit the same sin again yet declines to do so. Prayer, charity and fasting are also said to help one win forgiveness.

There are two categories of sin in Jewish thought:

1. Sins against God: infractions, such as breaking the Sabbath or eating non-kosher food.

2. Sins against other people: Acts such as theft or slander.

According to Jewish tradition, only sins against God can be atoned for through confession, regret and promising not to repeat the action. Sins against other can be atoned for once the wrong has been made right – restitution has been paid for a financial crime, for example, and forgiveness received from the victim.

In the Hebrew colander, the month of Elul begins this Sunday, August 28th and concludes on October 5th, the Day of Atonement (Yon Kippur). The 10 Days of Awe begin at sunset September 25th.

Scripture teaches that our prayers and aims come up as a memorial before God. As a remembrance for future blessings. Some of the greatest breakthroughs have occurred personally and as a nation during this season, Especially during the Days of Awe between The Feast of Trumpets and Atonement. This is the time in which the doors of heaven are opened for the decisions to be decreed for the following year – 5783.

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