Teshuva – VeShavta


Question: Once a transgression is done – it’s over. How can you change what happened in the past?

Hashem’s name (יהוה) can be understood as a combination of the words הוה…היה…יהיה —> Is…Was…Will-be,   Present…Past…Future,   timelessness. The Mitzva to do Teshuva can be found in the Torah’s words (Devarim 4:30):  וְשַׁבְתָּ֞ עַד־יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֙יךָ֙ – Return (Teshuva) to Hashem your God.  Doing Teshuva involves a rectification and re-attachment to that we created a separation from.  This reconnects us to this timeless aspect – Hashem.

Messilat Yesharim end of Chapter 4       מסילת ישרים סוף פרק ד

…And that Teshuva (repentance, returning and reuniting with our true essence)…


Should be given to the transgressors with complete Chesed (loving-kindness)
– that it should be considered the uprooting of the Ratzon (the [deviant] will that brought the person to err) as the uprooting of the Maase (the [deviant] act).

תִּנָּתֵן לַחוֹטְאִים בְּחֶסֶד גָּמוּר

שֶׁתֵּחָשֵׁב עֲקִירַת הָרָצוֹן כַּעֲקִירַת הַמַּעֲשֶׂה-

That is to say, that it should be that when the repenting person recognizes his sin and acknowledge them (i.e. confession)

דְּהַיְינוּ, שֶׁבִּהְיוֹת הַשָּׁב מַכִּיר אֶת חֶטְאוֹ, וּמוֹדֶה בּוֹ

(יה (הוה


and contemplates the evil he has done and repents (does Teshuva), and regrets the sin a complete regret to the very root of the sin like the regret of a [regrettable] vow itself –
–  that he has complete remorse – wishing and yearning that the action would never ever have happened
– And is distressed in his heart a great anguish in that the action was done

 וּמִתְבּוֹנֵן עַל רָעָתוֹ וְשָׁב, וּמִתְחָרֵט עָלָיו חֲרָטָה גְמוּרָה דְּמֵעִיקָּרָא כַּחֲרָטַת הַנֵּדֶר מַמָּש

שֶׁהוּא מִתְנַחֵם לְגַמְרֵי וְהָיָה חָפֵץ וּמִשְׁתּוֹקֵק שֶׁמֵּעוֹלָם לֹא נַעֲשָׂה הַדָּבָר הַהוּא

וּמִצְטַעֵר בְּלִבּוֹ צַעַר חָזָק עַל שֶׁכְּבָר נַעֲשָׂה הַדָּבָר



And leaves it [the misdeed] in the future, and flees from it

וְעוֹזֵב אוֹתוֹ לְהַבָּא, וּבוֹרֵחַ מִמֶּנּוּ



Behold – the uprooting of the matter from his will is considered for him like the uprooting of a vow and it is atoned for him.

– הִנֵּה עֲקִירַת הַדָּבָר מֵרְצוֹנוֹ יֵחָשֵׁב לוֹ כַּעֲקִירַת הַנֵּדֶר וּמִתְכַּפֵּר לו

An this is what the scripture writes “And your iniquity is removed and your sin is atoned” (Isaiah 6:7),

  וְהוּא מַה שֶּׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב “וְסָר עֲוֹנֶךָ וְחַטָּאתְךָ תְּכֻפָּר” ישעיה ו:ז

That the iniquity is really removed from existence and is uprooted in that now he has anguish and remorse on that was in the past.

שֶׁהֶעָוֹן סָר מַמָּשׁ מֵהַמְּצִיאוּת וְנֶעֱקָר בְּמַה שֶּׁעַכְשָׁיו מִצְטַעֵר וּמִתְנַחֵם עַל מַה שֶּׁהָיָה לְמַפְרֵעַ

See Messilat Yesharim for the context of this citation.


Any questions or feedback would be appreciated: LearnTorah@bircas.org