top of page
  • Writer's pictureGODVERSITY

Teshuva - Return to God


In the Jewish tradition, repentance is called teshuvah , a Hebrew word translated as “returning.” One of the Hebrew words for sin is chet, which in Hebrew means “to go astray.” Thus 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, as laid out by Maimonides, includes three stages: confession, regret and a vow not to repeat the misdeed. The true penitent, Maimonides says, 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: Ritual 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 people can be atoned for only once the wrong has been made right — restitution has been paid for a financial crime, for example, and forgiveness received from the victim.


PSALM: 51:1 Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when (A)Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions"


PRAYER: Lord, my heart is broken but You are near. My spirit is crushed, but You are my rescuer. Your Word is my hope. It revives me and comforts me in especially now. My soul faints, but you are the breath of life within me. You are my help, the One who sustains me. I am weak but You are strong. You bless those who mourn, and I trust You to bless me and my family with all that we need. You will rescue me from this dark cloud of despair because You delight in me. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.



bottom of page