Before the creation of the world, G – d created Teshuva (Repentance). This is what the Talmud Tractate Pesachim teaches us.
The Hebrew word TESHUVA has it’s origins in the Hebrew word LASHUV – to return to someone or something. In the case of TESHUVA it means that we regret having done something wrong. We realize our mistakes and decide to lead a better life according to the Torah. This, however, doesn’t automatically mean that, from now on, someone has to lead a totally frum life. Every Jew has his own way of Teshuva and when he enters a Teshuva process, he, for instance, could say that he won’t eat any more non – kosher food anymore. This doesn’t make him religious. What it means is that he his aware of former mistakes and wants to correct them in the future. G – d does play a role but, as I have already said, Teshuva doesn’t always have something to do with putting on a black hat or wearing long skirts.
Teshuva is a very personal process in life and everybody has to find his own individual approach. I have quite a few Teshuva books on my bookshelves and would like to share some statements from Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliyashiv or Rebbe Aharon (Arele) Roth, the founder of Chassidut Toldot Aharon.
What we should never forget: Even religious Jews have to do Teshuva. Repentance is not only for secular Jews who suddenly enter Aish HaTorah, Ohr Sameach, Neve Yerushalayim or Chabad. Teshuva is for every Jew and taking place any time ! We are all human beings and we all have mistakes and are not perfect. 🙂