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Wake Up! | Kavanah | Zmanim | Tzitzit | Tefillin | Brachot
Pesukei d'Zimra | Kriat Shema | Amidah | Geshem and Tal | Mincha
Kaddish | Amen! | Shabbos | Kiddush | Shofar | Teshuva
Rosh HaShana | Ten Days | Yom Kippur | Sukkos | Pesach | Sefirat HaOmer
Shavuot | Chanukah | Purim | Rosh Chodesh | Tu B'Shvat
Fast Days | The Three Weeks | Tisha B'Av | The Four Parshiyot | Parshat HaShavua
The Kosher Kitchen | Issur v'Heter | Speaking to G-d | Spiritual Reality, Spiritual Freedom
The Jewish Calendar | Chinuch: Education | A Practical Guide to Shabbos | Rav Dovid's Shiurim
True or False? | Respect for Parents, Elders, and Torah Scholars | Ben Adam l'Chaveiro

Hilchot Teshuva -- The Laws of Repentance

What is teshuva? It's the process of drawing closer to Hashem. This series, from Rav Dovid's Daily Halacha at the Wall Street Synagogue and other lectures, covers the Rambam's Hilchos Teshuva and related teshuva topics.
25 Elul 5769 listen Pleading Before the King of Kings (5:26)
Selichos are all about pleading our case before Hashem.
Sources: Tur OC 581
22 Elul 5769 listen The Historical Events of Elul (15:14)
Why is the month of Elul a time of selichos and shofar?
Sources: Tur OC 581
21 Elul 5769 listen Instilling Love of Hashem in Your Heart (16:17)
Ultimately, teshuva is about loving Hashem. How do we achieve such love?
20 Elul 5769 listen Learning Torah and Bringing Others Closer to Hashem (15:32)
We can learn Torah with awesome fear or with love. What difference does it make?
19 Elul 5769 listen Serving Hashem with Love (15:57)
What does it mean to serve Hashem with love?
15 Elul 5769 listen Serving Hashem with Awe (12:38)
What does it mean to serve Hashem with awe?
14 Elul 5769 listen The Essense of Messianic Times (14:24)
According to Maimonides, the Messianic Time is not the World to Come. So what is it? Why do we long for it so?
13 Elul 5769 listen The Rewards of Mitzvah Observance in This World (15:15)
Hashem gives us goodness and calamity in this world, but that is neither a spiritual reward nor punishment.
12 Elul 5769 listen The World to Come and the Days of the Messiah (15:40)
The Rambam's understanding of "This World", "The Next World", "The World to Come", "The Days of the Messiah", and the time of the ressurection of the dead.
11 Elul 5769 listen The Pleasures of This World; The Pleasures of the Next World (16:17)
There is no "currency" in This World that could be used to value the pleasure of the Next World.
1 Elul 5769 listen Metaphors for the Next World (9:40)
Chazal speak of the Next World in many different metaphors: the Mountain of G-d, a feast, His Holy Place...
30 Av 5769 listen What does the soul bring to the Next World? (14:18)
After death, the soul carries its acquisitions of This World into the Next World. What does the soul actually acquire, and how?
29 Av 5769 listen The Truth of the Next World; The Metaphor of This World (15:09)
We talk about experiences like "sitting before Hashem" in the next world; what does that mean!?
27 Av 5769 listen What is Olam HaBa? (12:44)
In the eighth chapter of Hilchot Teshuva, the Rambam introduces us to Olam HaBa, the reward for the righteous, and the suffering of the wicked.
25 Elul 5768 listen The Humility Inherent in a Ba'al Teshuva (10:02)
Though a true ba'al teshuva has great merits, nonetheless a ba'al teshuva has an inherent humility as an outgrowth of the teshuva process.
24 Elul 5768 listen Teshuva and the Ultimate Redemption (12:24)
Teshuva draws us closer to Hashem and brings us closer to geula.
23 Elul 5768 listen The Reward for the Struggles of Teshuva (11:36)
Much of teshuva is about the struggle to overcome the yetzer hara -- a struggle that has its own rewards.
22 Elul 5768 listen Teshuva Isn't Just for Misdeeds (8:41)
The Rambam emphasizes a whole new realm of teshuva: correcting improper thoughts and middot.
16 Elul 5768 listen Davening for the Ability to Do Teshuva (18:16)
Sometimes we need Hashem's help to do teshuva.
15 Elul 5768 listen Teshuva and Free Will (2): Actions for which there is no Teshuva (15:16)
There are some actions so heinous that the consequence thereof is that we lose our ability to return to Hashem in teshuva.
12 Elul 5768 listen Teshuva and Free Will (1) (14:42)
Our ability to draw closer to Hashem through teshuva is dependent on our free will. Just as free will allows us to do aveirot, so too it allows us to correct our aveirot with teshuva.
11 Elul 5768 listen Teshuva for a Baal Teshuva (4): Complete Teshuva; Teshuva m'Yirah; Teshuva m'Ahava (15:08)
When is a baal teshuva's return complete? Also: teshuva out of fear; teshuva out of love.
10 Elul 5768 listen Teshuva for a Baal Teshuva (3): Making a Tikkun (15:17)
We cannot bring a korban chatat, so what are we to do to make restitution with Hashem?
Sources: Sotah 3a
9 Elul 5768 listen Teshuva for a Baal Teshuva (2): Korban Chatat (15:41)
Normally, one who accidentally commits an aveira like violating shabbos brings a korban chatat (special sacrifice) as a kapara (to make restitution). Does this obligation apply to today's baal teshuva?
8 Elul 5768 listen Teshuva for a Baal Teshuva (Part 1) (15:20)
A child has no culpability for wrongdoings as he doesn't yet know better. What about an adult who doesn't (or didn't) know better?
Sources: Shabb. 67b
5 Elul 5768 listen Chinuch for Yom Kippur; Chinuch for Teshuva (17:19)
What are a child's obligations with regard to Yom Kippur and the Teshuva process? Does an adult need to do teshuva for the indiscretions of his or her youth? What about a ba'al teshuva?
Sources: OC 343:1 (Rama); MB 343:6; Ch"A 66; Yoma 8:4
4 Elul 5768 listen When to do Teshuva (13:42)
The process of teshuva is incumbent upon all of us at all times.
Sources: Sefer HaChinuch 364
3 Elul 5768 listen The Meaning of "Vidui" (15:23)
A "Vidui" is not a confession. Just what is it, and what is its role in teshuva? Also: the first two steps toward teshuva.
Sources: Sefer HaChinuch 364
2 Elul 5768 listen The Mitzvah of Teshuva According to the Sefer HaChinuch, Part 1 (15:27)
The obligation of teshuva stems from our obligation to speak our hearts to Hashem.
Sources: Sefer HaChinuch 364
28 Elul 5767 listen Making the Yomim Noraim Relevant (51:47)
Join Rav Dovid for a corporate "Lunch and Learn" discussion on relating to the High Holidays in our modern times. What makes the Yomim Noraim relevant for us today? Is this just a bunch of "New Year's Resolutions" that, like all other such resolutions, will be forgotten within days of Yom Kippur? How should we relate to Rosh HaShanah, and why do these Holidays occur back-to-back on the calendar?
17 Elul 5767 listen Free Will and its Implications for Teshuva (15:34)
Resolving the second contradiction of Free Will: if Hashem knows what we will choose before we choose, how is our choice "free," and how can we say that our choices impact the world? And if Hashem doesn't know, how can we say that Hashem is All-Knowing? Finally, what does Free Will have to do with teshuva that the Rambam chose to put this chapter here rather than in Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah?
15 Elul 5767 listen Free Will as an Axiom of Existence (11:51)
For the Rambam, Free Will is axiomatic. If we accept this axiom, how do we resolve the conflicts it implies -- namely, if an All-Knowing G-d knows what we will choose before we choose, how is it that our choice is free? And how could it be that an All-Powerful G-d whose Will determines the course of all history in the universe is not in control of our actions?
Dedicated as a zechut for a refuah shleima for Yeshua Yaakov ben Froma.
14 Elul 5767 listen Understanding Free Will (12:41)
Free Will is one of the axioms on which all of teshuva rests. There are no external forces that determine our actions; rather, our choices are up to us. And those same choices ultimately determine who we are and what we become.
13 Elul 5767 listen Teshuva and Free Will: Becoming a Tzadik (10:11)
Free will -- or more particularly, the will to change -- is a critical component of teshuva. How important is it? According to the Rambam, we each have the ability to be as righteous as Moshe Rabbeinu -- if only we will it.
Dedicated as a zechut for a refuah shleimah for Ariella Rivkah ben Devora Pessel.
10 Elul 5767 listen Vicous Cycles and Self-Defeating Behaviors (13:56)
There are five behavioral character traits that are so harmful that the Rambam need not even explain them. They contaminate the neshoma, and even worse, they are self-perpetuating.
9 Elul 5767 listen "Minor" Actions with Major Consequences (13:40)
There are five actions which appear inconsequencial to us but which are in fact aveirot as serious as any other. It is difficult to do proper teshuva for such actions because we don't recognize them as aveirot, and even if we do, we fail to acknowledge the severity of the transgression.
8 Elul 5767 listen Anonymous Sins with Unknown Implications (21:06)
The Rambam tells of five aveirot committed against others for which we cannot repent, as we don't know against whom we have sinned.
7 Elul 5767 listen Affiliation with Torah Scholars and a Torah Community (13:33)
The Rambam lists five aveirot that "lock the path of Teshuva", and from them we derive five actions that expedite teshuva.
Dedicated as a zechut for a refuah shleima for Yeshua Yaakov ben Froma.
6 Elul 5767 listen Causing Others to Sin; Inspiring Others to Mitzvot (13:32)
Introduction to the fourth chapter of Hilchot Teshuva, a list of twenty-four aveirot that deter or prevent a person from completing proper teshuva. From this chapter, we learn not only of activities for which teshuva is nearly impossible, but also of activities that facilitate and expedite the teshuva process. This first shiur deals with the first four such activities, both as aveirot and mitzvot. The common thread: our impact on others -- for better and for worse -- has tremendous implications.
30 Av 5767 listen Iggeret HaRamban (Part 1) (41:14)
A close reading of the well-known Iggeret HaRamban, ethical instructions sent by Nachmanides to his son Nachman, with an eye on the themes of musar and teshuva.
Sources: Iggeres HaRamban (English) (Note: to view Hebrew in your browser, you may need to set the character encoding to "Hebrew (Windows)".)
26 Av 5767 listen Elul, the Season of Teshuva, and L'David Ori (14:07)
Why do we recite L'David Ori during the entire month of Elul? And why is the season of teshuva so long?
Sources: Siddur HaGra
25 Av 5767 listen Rosh Chodesh Elul (11:08)
Customs of Elul: selichot, shofar, and Hashem Ori.
Sources: OC 581:1; MB 581:1-3
8 Tevet 5767 listen VaYigash: What does it mean to be a "Jew"? (56:04)
What is so special about Yehudah that the Jewish people are called "Jews" due to him? What is it that makes a Jew Jewish?
Sources: Gen 44-46
1 Tevet 5767 listen Mikeitz: Teshuva, Measure for Measure (Part 2) (1:03:15)
Hashem runs the world mida k'neged mida -- "measure for measure". Understanding this concept helps us gain insight into Divine Justice and how to do proper teshuva. This class further explores the concept of mida k'neged mida as manifest throughout the narration of Joseph and his brothers.
Sources: Gen 40-43
24 Kislev 5767 listen VaYeishev: Teshuva, Measure for Measure: A Look at Joseph and his Brothers (56:35)
Hashem runs the world mida k'neged mida -- "measure for measure". Understanding this concept helps us gain insight into Divine Justice and how to do proper teshuva. This class explores the concept of mida k'neged mida as manifest throughout the narration of Joseph and his brothers.
Sources: Gen 37-38
21 Elul 5766 listen "Minor" Sins with Major Consequences (11:05)
In addition to serious transgressions like heresy, the Rambam lists are several transgressions that seem minor in comparison... but that cause a Jew to lose his portion in olam ha-ba.
Given as a zechus for a refuah shleima for Ariella Rivkah bas Devora Pessel.
20 Elul 5766 listen Acts Against the Jewish People (14:04)
One who separates himself from the Jewish people in this world will be spiritually cut off in the next. So too, one who causes the Nation of Israel to sin will be spiritually excised. Hashem's response to us is measure for measure: as we treat Him, so too will He treat us.
Given as a zechus for a refuah shleima for Ariella Rivkah bas Devora Pessel.
19 Elul 5766 listen Public Sinners, Public Sin (13:23)
The status of: a mumar who is known to violate a particular mitzvah; a mumar who publicly follows a foreign belief system out of convenience; and those who cause the community as a whole to sin.
Given as a zechus for a refuah shleima for Ariella Rivkah bas Devora Pessel.
18 Elul 5766 listen Various Forms of Heresy (10:33)
Deniers of Hashem, deniers of prophecy, and deniers of Torah: various forms of heresy.
15 Elul 5766 listen A Jew's Portion in Olam HaBa (12:33)
Jews who lose their portion in Olam HaBa.
14 Elul 5766 listen Teshuva, Olam HaBa, and Tefillin (7:36)
What is the impact of Teshuva on a Jew's portion of Olam HaBa?
13 Elul 5766 listen The Shofar's Call to Teshuva (13:37)
The Rambam's famous understanding of the call of the shofar -- "Awake, sleepers, from your slumber!"
In memory of Chaya Sarah bas Micha'el HaLevi on the occasion of her yahrzeit.
12 Elul 5766 listen The Book of Life (11:42)
The books are open: the Book of Life for the righteous and the Book of Death for the wicked; the rest of us hang in the balance.
Dedicated for a refuah shleimah for Mori v'Rabi, HaRav Shlomo Yitzchak ben Elka, shlit"a.
8 Elul 5766 listen Half Guilty, Half Innocent (10:54)
We should always see ourselves as half guilty, half innocent -- one more aveira and our sentence will be sealed.
Dedicated by Ronald and Marion Stein l'ilui nishmat Hinde bas Hersh on the occasion of her yahrzeit.
7 Elul 5766 listen The Other Side of Teshuva: Granting Forgiveness (14:17)
When another has wronged you, you must work on yourself to develop a forgiving nature.
6 Elul 5766 listen Making Restitution as Part of Teshuva (12:51)
Sometimes, teshuva on its own is not enough. If another person was involved, we must make restitution and seek forgiveness from him.
5 Elul 5766 listen Teshuva in Our Hearts (11:34)
Complete teshuva requires resolution of the heart, mind, and soul.
Given as a zechus for a refuah shleima for Batya bat Leah.
4 Elul 5766 listen What is complete Teshuva? (7:36)
How do you know when you've done teshuva? When is teshuva complete?
Given as a zechus for a refuah shleima for Ephraim ben Chana Miriam.
30 Av 5766 listen Elul - The Season of Teshuva (9:16)
What makes Elul such an auspicious time for reconciling ourselves with Hashem?
Sources: OC 581:1; MB 581 - Introduction
Given as a zechus for a refuah shleima for Ariella Rivkah bas Devora Pessel.
1 Elul 5766 listen The Sounds of the Shofar (7:17)
We begin blowing the shofar daily from Rosh Chodesh Elul. Why all the different sounds?
Sources: OC 581:1; MB 581:3; MT Shofar 1:1
29 Av 5766 listen The Four Levels of Transgression (12:47)
The four levels of transgression and the requirements of kaporah for each.
28 Av 5766 listen Teshuva and Yom Kippur (12:43)
Teshuva and the se'ir hamishtaleach of Yom Kippur.
27 Av 5766 listen Korbanot, Teshuva, and Vidui (12:04)
The interrelationship among korbanot, teshuva, and vidui.
Given as a zechus for a refuah shleima for Tuvia ben Brocha.
23 Av 5766 listen Introduction to Teshuva (7:16)
The tremendous value of teshuva is more precious than the World to Come.
Sources: Avot 4:21-22
Dedicated for a shidduch for Henya Rivka bas Fruma.
24 Av 5766 listen The Mitzvah of Vidui (7:40)
Vidui is a Mitzvah d'Oraita according to the Rambam. How is it done?
L'ilui nishmat Freida bas Mendel on the occasion of her yahrzeit.
9 Tishrei 5766 listen Hilchos Teshuva (47:22)
What is Teshuva? How do we do it? Rav Dovid explains the basics of the process of repentance and return according to Maimonides' Hilchos Teshuva (Laws of Teshuva).

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Enjoy each of Rav Dovid's Daily Halacha Series:
Wake Up! | Kavanah | Zmanim | Tzitzit | Tefillin | Brachot
Pesukei d'Zimra | Kriat Shema | Amidah | Geshem and Tal | Mincha
Kaddish | Amen! | Shabbos | Kiddush | Shofar | Teshuva
Rosh HaShana | Ten Days | Yom Kippur | Sukkos | Pesach | Sefirat HaOmer
Shavuot | Chanukah | Purim | Rosh Chodesh | Tu B'Shvat
Fast Days | The Three Weeks | Tisha B'Av | The Four Parshiyot | Parshat HaShavua
The Kosher Kitchen | Issur v'Heter | Speaking to G-d | Spiritual Reality, Spiritual Freedom
The Jewish Calendar | Chinuch: Education | A Practical Guide to Shabbos | Rav Dovid's Shiurim
True or False? | Respect for Parents, Elders, and Torah Scholars | Ben Adam l'Chaveiro
Rav Dovid's daily halacha is given at the Wall Street Synagogue before shacharit.

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