Tuesday, October 19, 2010


We usually introduce the subject of teshuvah as saying 'I'm sorry', but an article in today's Wall Street Journal highlighted the difference between the two.  In particular, please read the inset here that appears in the article

Saying 'I'm Sorry'

A 'comprehensive' apology is more likely to win forgiveness, researchers say. There are eight elements:
  • Remorse
  • Acceptance of responsibility
  • Admission of wrongdoing
  • Acknowledgment of harm
  • Promise to behave better
  • Request for forgiveness
  • Offer of repair
  • Explanation
Source: University of Waterloo
Maimonides states the steps of teshuvah as follows:

  1. Realizing what you did was wrong
  2. Confessing to the wrongdoing
  3. Correcting the wrong you caused
  4. Acting properly when confronted with the same situation that led to the original wrongdoing

Here are some questions to help you think about the difference between "I'm sorry" and "teshuvah"

  • What is the purpose of "I'm sorry"?
  • What is the purpose of teshuvah?
  • What step that leads to teshuvah is missing from the "I'm sorry" list above?
  • How does this help you understand teshuvah?

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