Kenneth Cohen

The Value of Teshuva

If one wishes to find a guide as to how one should do Teshuva, it would be from the Rambam’s Mishna Torah. The relevant section is called, “Hilchot Teshuva.”

Not only is there a detailed description, as to how a person can overcome his personal weakness towards sin, but there are philosophical issues as well.

There is a chapter devoted to the subject of free will. The Rambam teaches that we are very much in control of our destiny, if we use our free will, in the right way. He does not accept that certain negative character traits, are inborn. With the proper motivation and determination, we do have the ability to make drastic changes in our lives.

There is also a chapter devoted to describing exactly what is “Olam Haba,” or the next world. It is a perfect world of eternal bliss, not known to man in this world. It is reserved for the righteous. These are the individuals who have devoted their lives to serving Hashem faithfully. They were able to overcome the temptations put in front of man, and they did not succumb. This is an acknowledgement that this world is imperfect. There are many injustices that present man with a test, as to whether or not, he will allow life’s difficulties, to defeat him.

People spend a great deal of time and effort, chasing rainbows. They search the world to find happiness and meaning. The Rambam in Hilchot Teshuva, makes it clear that there is no joy in the world, and there is nothing in the world that can give meaning to our lives, than living a life that strictly adheres to the Torah.

It’s all right there in front of us. All we have to do is return to G-d, and partake of all of the good that awaits us.

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