Kenneth Cohen


The Rambam explains that there is only one Mitzva connected with Teshuva. This is what is known as Viduy, or confession.

This means that even if we find remedies for our sins, such as offering sin offerings in the days of the Temple, or paying back the person that we may have caused financial loss, we are not forgiven until we confess.

The Rambam goes on to explain that whether the transgression is in the category of “man and G-d,” of “man and man,” we must confess and specify the sin. It is not enough to only say, “I’m sorry.”

This is not the Rambam’s personal opinion. He sees this as one of the 613 commandments, where the Torah says, והתודו את חטאתם, “And they must confess their sins.”

When we think about this, we realize the great wisdom of the Torah. Confessing and specifying the sin, takes a great deal of humility. People have too much pride to be able to admit that they had wronged someone.

The Torah’s prescription for Teshuva helps demonstrate real remorse. Such a declaration helps the individual really get to the path of true repentance. Humility is a key ingredient that allows us to admit when we messed up. There is always room for Teshuva, and it is available for those who truly wish to repent. But the way to do it right is by way of Viduy. And we will do this ten times on Yom Kippur, to ensure our forgiveness, and our being inscribed for a year of peace and good health.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at