Monday, August 12, 2013


Several days ago on Elul 3, 9 August, we posted a link to lesson 2 of Rabbi Fohrman's instructions on Teshuva: What is real repentance?  In this video, Rabbi Fohrman introduces and begins to analyze Maimonides’ 4 elements of repentance, and suggests that the last of the 4 seems not to fit with the first 3. The first 3 elements highlight the process of leaving behind a sin. Rabbi Fohrman points out that merely leaving sin behind does not accomplish real repentance; that’s where confession comes in.
If you have not seen the video use the following link and view the lesson before you continue today's blog.


3. One who merely verbally confesses to his sins and does not affix it in his heart to abandon them is like one who immerses in a mikveh while clutching onto a reptile. For such an immersion is of no avail until the reptile is gotten rid of. As such it’s said: "One who confesses and forsakes his sin will be shown mercy" (Proverbs 28:13). And one must articulate his sins. As it’s written: "Oh please -- the people have committed a terrible sin and fashioned G-ds of gold for themselves" (Exodus 32:31).

4. Among the things one can do for teshuvah is to cry out to G-d constantly andpleadingly, give charity according to his means, keep far away from what he transgressedagainst, change his name (as if to say, "I am someone else; I am not the person who didthose things"), change all his ways for the good and onto the path of righteousness, andexile himself (because exile atones for transgressions by making one submissive, humbleand meek).

5. It would be laudable for such a person to confess openly, to let his acts of rebellion be known, and to reveal his sins against another person in public by saying: "In truth, I sinned against so and so by doing thus and such to him. I’m hereby doing teshuva hand I am sorry." For the teshuvah of one who is so arrogant as to conceal his acts of rebellion rather than disclose them is incomplete. As it’s written: "One who hides his acts of rebellion will never succeed" (Proverbs 28:13).That is, however, only so in the case of sins committed against another person. But when it comes to sins committed against G-d, one doesn’t have to publicize his deeds. In fact, it would be impudent of him to do so. He should do teshuvah before G-d by enunciating his sins to Him, and then confessing in general before others. For it would be best for him not to enunciate such sins. As it’s written: "Happy is he whose acts of rebellion are forgiven, whose sin is hidden" (Psalms 32:1).

Maimonides, "Laws of Repentance" 2:3-5

Nitzavim(Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20)
Asking Forgiveness

"Some years ago, an organization asked me to collect stories for a book they hoped to publish. After putting the collection together and giving it to the administrators, they in turn handed it over for perusal to one of their supporters, a freelance journalist who had written many cover stories for national magazines. He responded by calling me up and telling me how awfulhe thought the work was, and also in informing me that I was in the wrong business. I was hurt by the verbal thrashing." 

Repairing Relationships

In this video, Rabbi Fohrman takes an in-depth look at the value of confession, the 4th element of repentance, through analyzing Maimonides’ fascinating analogy, and suggests that confession serves to repair the relationships that were damaged through the wrongdoing.

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