Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah Chapter 1, Class 7

Tanya/ Iggeres Ha’Teshuvah – The Epistle on Repentance, Chapter 1, Class 7


It is for this reason that the Rambam and Sefer Mitzvot Gadol51 make no mention whatsoever of fasting as related to the Mitzvah of repentance, even in the case of sins punishable by excision or capital sins.

וְלָכֵן לֹא הִזְכִּירוּ הָרַמְבַּ”ם וְהַסְּמַ”ג שׁוּם תַּעֲנִית כְּלָל בְּמִצְוַת הַתְּשׁוּבָה, אַף בִּכְרֵיתוֹת וּמִיתוֹת בֵּית־דִּין,

I.e., fasting is not required even with regard to those sins whose atonement is completed through suffering.

They cite only confessing [verbally] and requesting forgiveness, as the Torah prescribes, “They shall confess their sin….”52

רַק הַוִּידּוּי וּבַקָּשַׁת מְחִילָה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה: “וְהִתְוַדּוּ אֶת חַטָּאתָם וְגוֹ’”.

Why are confession and requesting forgiveness indeed part of repentance?

Every sin consists of a body and a soul. The actual misdeed itself is the “body” of the sin, and the bodily pleasure and ensuing desire with which it was committed are its “soul.” Repentance involves eliminating both these elements.

The “soul” of the sin is eradicated by the earnest regret of the individual, who is mortified and pained by his past. Inasmuch as pain is the opposite of pleasure, it negates the pleasure which had earlier aroused his desire to sin and thereby obliterates the “soul” of the sin.

However, the “body” of the sin also needs to be nullified. Simply refraining from further transgression lacks the action that would negate the sinful act itself, its “body.” This is accomplished through verbal confession, for “verbalization is also considered to be an action.”53

At any rate, verbal confession is thus a component of repentance while fasting is not.






Positive Command 16.


Numbers 5:7.


Sanhedrin 65a.

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