If I recall correctly, I remember someone saying in a shiur a long time ago that a dishonest person cannot do teshuvah. Is there any source for this claim?

  • I've no source, but it stands somewhat to reason. I mean, someone thoroughly dishonest can't admit to himself that he did wrong, a key component of t'shuva.
    – msh210
    Jan 24, 2021 at 15:39
  • 1
    What does this mean? Teshuvah means that he no longer acts dishonestly and pays back what he has stolen. Jan 24, 2021 at 18:26
  • @msh210 That is exactly the type of dishonesty that I was referring to, lying to himself and to others. Shall I edit the question to replace the words "dishonest person" with "habitual liar"?
    – Nosson
    Jan 24, 2021 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


Anyone can do Teshuva but a dishonest person can’t always pay back and make amends.

The Gemora (Bova Basra 88B) says קשה עונשן של מדות יותר מעונשן של עריות

The punishment for using false measures is more severe than the punishment for transgressing the prohibition of forbidden sexual relations.

The Gemora goes on to discuss why and says מאי עודפייהו דהתם אפשר בתשובה והכא לא אפשר בתשובה

in the case of one who engages in forbidden relations, he has the possibility of repentance. But in the case of one who uses false measures, there is no possibility of repentance because he has no way of knowing whom he cheated, and is therefore unable to return the stolen money.

However the Gemora (Bava Kama 94B-95A)discusses Teshuva for theft. Even if the thief doesn't know who he stole from he can try to pay back by paying communal needs. (Tosfos says that doing so isn't a real repayment)

It is said over in the name of the Chofetz Chaim that Gezel Shinah (keeping someone else up) has no way to be paid back

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .