The true way to do teshuva is not just by turning away from and not doing aveiros, it must also include a turning towards mitzvos and acknowledging what we have done wrong. This is true when we are talking about the way we deal with Hashem and with other people – especially our family and friends.
Sin As A Physical Turning Away
- Apology letter to Simcha
I wanted to write you this letter of apology. I know it has been months since I last saw you but something I said to you truly bothers me. Actually, it was what I didn’t say that bothers me.
The last day of school, when I knew you were going to be moving away, far away, I saw you in the corner crying near your locker, with all of your books scattered about the floor. I turned and walked the other way. I didn’t go over to help you or comfort you. I should have. For that I am sorry. I also should have told you how much your friendship meant to me; all the great times we shared. I am sorry about that. I should have done things differently.
Questions To Make You Think:
1. Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?
2. Have you neglected a friend’s needs this past year?
3. Have you shared with him or her that you are sorry?
B. Apology post it… (anonymous)
Hi. You don’t know me, but we share the same desk. I know that I can be messy at times. So I wanted to say I am sorry for leaving candy wrappers, old tests, and other stuff inside the desk. I will try harder to keep our shared space neat and tidy. I truly hope you can forgive me.
Questions To Make You Think:
1. Is a written apology to a stranger considered a true apology?
2. Can you think of another way to make the person feel that you took responsibility for your actions?
Taking responsibility for an embarrassing action is definitely a huge step toward teshuva.
The next step is verbally admitting it to the person and then asking forgiveness from Hashem.
C. It’s true that we have many things we can ask forgiveness for when we say Al Cheyt on Yom Kippur: speaking back to a parent, wasting food, yelling at a sibling. Many things will pop up in our mind while we pound on our chest in remorse and regret.
Sin is a turning away from something. When we hurt someone’s feelings we turn away from him or her. When we make fun of someone, we tend not to look right at him or her. These are physical signs that we have not given of ourselves fully. We must realize that just as we may have said the wrong thing, our bodies also did the wrong thing. They physically turned away from a friend, a family member, or a classmate.
Questions To Make You Think
1. How do we turn back toward those we turned away from?
2. Is it hard to return to a painful moment in order to somehow make it right?
3. Do we grow to become a more caring or stronger person from a hurtful experience? When we return, or turn back toward a friend, do we realize that we are, in fact, moving toward Hashem?
Teshuva As A Physical Turning Point
Teshuva is an opportunity to turn around – to make better choices with our words, actions and thoughts. As we daven on Yom Kippur, and recognize the mistakes we have made, we can and should also be using these moments as a turning point in our lives.