Teshuva: A Return to Purity

Question

What does “Teshuva” mean in a nutshell?

4 weeks

Answers

  1. Teshuva, literally translated, means “return.” We believe that the soul is intrinsically pure and began its sojourn on this world in a state of purity. Sins and transgressions are departures from the essential nature of the human soul. Therefore, when a person has done something wrong, the process of teshuva is really that of going back to his or her true essence.

    Jewish law describes three essential components of teshuva pertaining to the three dimensions of past, present and future. First the sinner must recognize that he has done something wrong and regret having done it, meaning feeling remorse for the past. In the present, he must confess his sin to God and pray for forgiveness. The final element is commitment to the future, never to repeat this transgression. If a person sincerely regrets, confesses and resolves to do better, not only is he completely forgiven, his former sins may now be considered merits because, ultimately, they were stepping stones to further growth.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team