Day 6: The Paths to Teshuvah

Day 6

Sunday August 27, 2017

Elul 5, 5777

(English Translation follows)

2.4

מִדַּרְכֵי הַתְּשׁוּבָה לִהְיוֹת הַשָּׁב צוֹעֵק תָּמִיד לִפְנֵי ה’, בִּבְכִי וּבְתַחֲנוּנִים, וְעוֹשֶׂה צְדָקָה כְּפִי כּוֹחוֹ, וּמִתְרַחֵק הַרְבֵּה מִן הַדָּבָר שֶׁחָטָא בּוֹ.  וּמְשַׁנֶּה שְׁמוֹ, כְּלוֹמַר שֶׁאֲנִי אַחֵר וְאֵינִי אוֹתוֹ הָאִישׁ שֶׁעָשָׂה אוֹתָן הַמַּעֲשִׂים; וּמְשַׁנֶּה מַעֲשָׂיו כֻּלָּן לְטוֹבָה, וּלְדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה.  וְגוֹלֶה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ–שֶׁגָּלוּת מְכַפֶּרֶת עָווֹן, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁגּוֹרֶמֶת לוֹ לְהִכָּנַע וְלִהְיוֹת עָנָו וּשְׁפַל רוּחַ.

The paths to teshuvah include the following. The Master of Teshuvah will perpetually cry out to God with tears and petitions. He will give as much to charity as he can afford. He will distance himself from the thing that brought him to sin. He will change his name, as if to say, “I am another person, I am not the person who behaved that way.” He will change his behavior, and put himself entirely on the good and correct path. He will exile himself from his home, for exile atones for sin, since it causes him to be lowly, humble, and of contrite spirit.

2.5

וּשְׁבָח גָּדוֹל לַשָּׁב שֶׁיִּתְוַדֶּה בָּרַבִּים וְיוֹדִיעַ פְּשָׁעָיו לָהֶם, וּמְגַלֶּה עֲבֵרוֹת שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לְבֵין חֲבֵרוֹ לַאֲחֵרִים, וְאוֹמֵר לָהֶם אָמְנָם חָטָאתִי לִפְלוֹנִי וְעָשִׂיתִי לוֹ כָּךְ וְכָּךְ, וַהֲרֵינִי הַיּוֹם שָׁב וְנִחַם.  וְכָל הַמִּתְגָּאֶה וְאֵינוּ מוֹדִיעַ, אֵלָא מְכַסֶּה פְּשָׁעָיו–אֵין תְּשׁוּבָתוֹ גְּמוּרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר “מְכַסֶּה פְשָׁעָיו, לֹא יַצְלִיחַ” (משלי כח,יג).

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים, בַּעֲבֵרוֹת שֶׁבֵּין אָדָם לַחֲבֵרוֹ.  אֲבָל שֶׁבֵּינוֹ לְבֵין הַמָּקוֹם–אֵינוּ צָרִיךְ לְפַרְסַם עַצְמוֹ, וְעַזּוּת פָּנִים הִיא לוֹ אִם גִּלָּם:  אֵלָא שָׁב לִפְנֵי הָאֵל בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וּפוֹרֵט חֲטָאָיו לְפָנָיו, וּמִתְוַדֶּה עֲלֵיהֶן בִּפְנֵי רַבִּים סְתָם.  וְטוֹבָה הִיא לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא נִתְגַּלָּה עֲווֹנוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר “אַשְׁרֵי נְשׂוּי-פֶּשַׁע; כְּסוּי חֲטָאָה” (תהילים לב,א).

It is very praiseworthy to confess in public and let one’s sins be known to others, revealing one’s transgressions against other people, saying “I have sinned against this person, committing this act, and today I regret it.” Anyone who is arrogant and will not admit his sin, attempting to hide his transgression, does not perform complete teshuvah, as it is written (Proverbs 28:13), one who hides his transgressions will not succeed.

Under what type of circumstances does this apply? When dealing with transgressions between people.  Transgressions against God, however, should not be made public, and it would be brazen to do so. On the contrary, one must specify one’s sins against God only in private, and use generic language when confessing in public.  It is better for a person not to reveal his sins, as it is written (Psalms 32:1), praiseworthy is the one who bears his transgression, whose sin is hidden.

Translation from Maimonides on Teshuvah (5th Edition, 2017)

 

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