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Teshuva
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Teshuva

Teshuva (repentance) in Judaism, is the way of atoning for crimes.

If someone commits a crime, according to Judaism, he can be forgiven for that crime if he does Teshuva. This means that he ceases his forbidden actions, regrets what he has done, apologizes to God, and makes a binding resolution never to repeat those actions.

The High Holidays are a time that is set aside for doing Teshuva. Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) is a day of fasting at the culmination of which Judgement for that year is sealed, therefore Jews strive their hardest to make certain that they have performed Teshuva before the end of the day.

Aside from the above process of doing Teshuva, someone who has committed a crime against another human being, is required to make it up to that person. If he stole from him, he is required to return the stolen item, and if he has pained him in any way, he is required to make it up to him so that the other person forgives him.

When the Temple in Jerusalem is standing, a person is required to bring a sacrifice for certain types of sins. Although the sacrifice must be brought, the most essential part of atonement is performing Teshuva, so that even nowadays when the temple is not built, atonement can be granted even for such sins.