The Essence of Teshuvah

Image: A portrait of Maimonides, also known as the Rambam.

“I committed iniquity before You by doing the following. Behold, I regret and am embarrassed for my deeds. I promise never to repeat this act again” (Hilchot Teshuva 1:1).

Everything else is commentary.

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

3 thoughts on “The Essence of Teshuvah”

  1. When my children are in trouble I often have them write sentences in order to think about what they have done. It’s calming, repetitive, and it gives us all a “time out/break. It’s usually a positive, not negative setence, and I like to start it with “I will endeavour to…”

    This is how I think of teshuvah, that we are truly endeavoring to turn from our ways. We can’t truly promise to NEVER do it again, but we can promise to endeavour to never to it again. That’s my thoughts anyways.

    1. Good point. That’s why I usually talk about a plan – “HOW am I going to make it unlikely that I will do this again?” We may sincerely by accident, but teshuvah is always deliberate.

      1. Being a parent has taught me so much about my relationship with G!d. I truly and honestly believe that’s being a parent has taught me how to be a better individual and have a better relationship with G!d

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