3 Things to Know about “Teshuvah”

To help us all get into an Elul state of mind so that we can repent properly, we would like to share with you a list of 3 things you may not know about Teshuvah:

1) Teshuvah is one of the greatest gifts that G-d has ever given to Man. I mean, think about it for a second. A person sins against G-d or his fellow man and then he repents and G-d accepts his repentance and erases his sin! Amazing! How fortunate we are that G-d is so full of mercy and love that even after we mess up He gives us a chance to repent!

2) Although most people translate the word teshuvah as repentance, the term literally means “return”. And they are not the same. Repentance denotes changing oneself and becoming different, while teshuvah/return implies coming back to oneself. The essence of teshuvah is the realization that the real me is my pure, untainted neshamah (soul) and that the sins that I committed dont define who I am. Teshuvah is thus returning to my true self.

3) There are many steps to the teshuvah process. However, the main components of teshuvah are only three, and they are: charatah, sincerely regretting the sin; azivas hacheit, resolving not to sin again and taking active steps to ensure that the sin is not repeated; and viduy, verbally confessing the sin before G-d. These three steps are the minimum requirements necessary for ones teshuvah to be accepted by G-d.