Ask the rabbi

  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Repentance

Forgiveness for a Sin


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tishrei 28, 5781
If we have sinned or have committed a sin and we deeply regret it, how can one ask for forgiveness or repent? What are the best methods for repentance to ensure that you are not dooming yourself in regards to your fate after death?
Tshuva, Tfila and Tzedaka (= Repentance, Prayer and Charity) are the way to receiving forgiveness. In addition to praying to God in general, thus deepening your relationship with Him, and giving charity to the needy, there are 5 steps involved in repentance: a. Recognizing and sincerely regretting the sin. b. Stopping to do that action if it has some continuation. c. Sincerely resolving not to repeat that mistake in the future. d. Actually speaking from your heart, and putting these feelings into words, saying out loud to yourself something like: "Father in Heaven, I have done this wrong act by stealing and sincerely regret it, and will not do so again. Please forgive me and erase my actions." e. Asking forgiveness from the person hurt, if it involves others. Remember, our Father loves us unconditionally, and wants us to love ourselves as well. Nobody is perfect, so the most perfect we can be is to strive for perfection, and if you constantly try and improve, than you’re on the right track! The power and secret of repentance is that although it’s illogical to erase actions, God gives us that miracle where we can wipe our slate clean, and can start anew, by going through the aforementioned actions.
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