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The “Process of Tshuvah” requires that one must sincerely promise never to repeat the sin(s) again. I hope to apologize sincerely and do Tshuvah properly, however, I can’t promise I will never repeat my sins again because I’m an imperfect person and I know I will mess up.

My goal is to eventually completely rid myself of these sins. Am I allowed to say “I will work hard to erase...” in order to fulfill this step of Tshuvah and have my Tshuvah still be valid in the Eyes of Hashem? I’m sincerely sorry in my apology. Why or why not?

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    If you find inner peace then you know Hashem has forgiven you.
    – pcoz
    Jun 29, 2021 at 1:59

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The Rambam answers this in Hilchot Tshuva: there are three stages

  1. Confession
  2. Regret and commitment not to sin again
  3. Not transgressing when facing the same situation again

(some say there are four steps and separate the first between acknowledging the sin and confession)

See how the language of the Rambam is specific in the second step. It is about regretting and committing not to sin again - NOT a formal promise which, as you write, one doesn't know if one can hold.


(1:1) - Confession

If a person transgresses any of the mitzvot of the Torah, whether a positive command or a negative command - whether willingly or inadvertently - when he repents, and returns from his sin, he must confess before God, blessed be, He as [Numbers 5:6-7] states: "If a man or a woman commits any of the sins of man... they must confess the sin that they committed." This refers to a verbal confession.

(1:1) - Regret and commitment not to sin again

Similarly, someone who injures a colleague or damages his property, does not attain atonement, even though he pays him what he owes until he confesses and makes a commitment never to do such a thing again

(2:1) - Not transgressing when facing the same situation again

[Who has reached] complete Teshuvah? A person who confronts the same situation in which he sinned when he has the potential to commit [the sin again], and, nevertheless, abstains and does not commit it because of his Teshuvah alone and not because of fear or a lack of strength.

See the full text of the Rambam for more details.

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True repentance (teshuva) is when a person abandons the wrong and resolves not to do them again. They must commit to correct the misdeed, such as apologizing to a person if needed. It may even prompt the person to forgive them.

I think it is ok to do our best. We are not perfect, nor should we try to be. One good way to help prevent future sins of the same category would be to develop habits of good behavior so as they are not repeated as much as possible. This solves much. Do these four simple steps as Rambam proscribes. The people of Nineveh did this and were forgiven.

“When G-d saw what they did, how they returned from their evil ways, God changed the evil that he had said he would do to them, and did not do it.”

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