T’shuva is for me, one of the most beautiful and important aspects of Judaism, perhaps it is because of my past, perhaps because I can see so many people holding the pain in from their past (and this would offer a cathartic release). T’shuva means “Return,” and is in reference to redemption, that is returning to a state of holiness/righteousness by asking for forgiveness, from yourself, from whomever you’ve wronged, and from G-D. While T’shuva can be practiced anytime, it is especially powerful during the ten days of the high holy days of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. 

To seek repentance Maimonides says should be done through three stages; confession, regret, and a vow not to repeat the misdeed. Maimonides also says forgiveness and repentance can be helped along with Prayer, charity, and fasting. There are also two categories of sin to ask forgiveness for;

  • Sins against G-D: this could be breaking the Shabbat, taking his name in vain, etc…
  • Sins against others: Stealing, hurting someone physically or emotionally, etc… 

 

Now back to the ten high holy days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur also known as “the days of awe.” There are days of deep introspection, whereas you look back over the past year, find anything that could be sinful, and try to rectify and seek repentance. On Rosh Hashana G-D writes in the books of life, who will live, die, have a good year, a bad year and this changes based on t’shuvah (repentance), tefilah (Prayer), and tzedakah (Charity). On Yom Kippur, the book is closed and the year is sealed and “in the books,” for good or ill. 

T’shuva can be a mentally enriching practice as well, offering those who feel remorseful of their actions, a means to express and thus release those feelings. This catharsis can help individuals to mentally free themselves from emotional baggage and find freedom in their lives once more.