A Guide to Teshuvah

Jewish ritual By Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg 22nd Sep 2022

There are many levels of teshuvah, return. At the heart of them all is our return to God so that God will return to us. Perhaps we can think of this as rediscovering the God-given, the best and purest, inside us.

Equally important is the return to one another, the restoration of our relationship through listening, understanding, forbearance and forgiveness.

On a collective level we are required to turn away from injustice and cruelty towards the social justice of which the Torah and prophets so often speak.

Critically urgent, too, is our return to our relationship with nature, the re-establishment of the equilibrium between humanity and the rest of creation.

All these are essential dimensions of teshuvah. They all involve, as Maimonides lays out in his Hilchot Teshuvah, the acknowledgement of home truths, honest apology expressed in our heart and, where appropriate and possible, to the persons we have hurt, the resolve not to perpetuate the same wrongs and the endeavour to make reparation.

Over the coming days I plan to write briefly about some of these different aspects of our key tasks during these Asseret Yemei Teshuvah, the Ten Days of Repentance.

Read the rest of the series:

  1. Language
  2. Injustice
  3. Environment
  4. With Ourselves
  5. With Each Other
  6. With God

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