Because Shabbath is a day of celebration and happiness, if one erred in preforming Torah, are they allowed to repent on Shabbath? Being that repentance requires a sense of remorsefulness and sadness?

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According to an article on the site of the Da'at Institute, the word teshuva (repentance) תשובה, contains the letters of the word Shabbos שבת, meaning:

Shabbat is thus an opportune time for Teshuvah Ila’a, an inately suitable time! In fact, the Hebrew letters of the word Teshuvah- תשובה, contain the letters of the word Shabbat – שבת. If you turn around the letters it can be read as ‘v’Shavta’ – and you shall return! So both sides of in your discussion had an important part of the answer:)!

A similiair idea can be found in the Peninei Halacha:

The two commandments – Zakhor and Shamor – are hinted at in the word “Shabbat.” Its simple meaning is related to the shevita, cessation of work, associated with Shamor. However, its deeper meaning is related to teshuva, “repentance” or “return,” for on Shabbat we return to the foundations of faith associated with Zakhor.


The Sages add (ibid.) that one who recites Va-yekhulu on Friday night is escorted home by two ministering angels, who rest their hands upon his head and say: “Your guilt shall depart and your sin be purged” (Yeshayahu 6:7). Shabbat is also connected to teshuva – repentance or return. This is expressed in the phonetic similarity of “Shabbat” and “teshuva.” Indeed, on Shabbat we remember the Creator of the world, and we return to all the positive strivings of our souls. One who recites Va-yekhulu on Friday night gives expression to the deep significance of Shabbat. By doing so he merits true repentance and the forgiveness of his sins.

There are two kinds of teshuva, 1) teshuvah tataah (lower-level teshuva) and 2) teshuvah ilaah (higher-level teshuva) - see: Igeres HaTeshuva of the Alter Rebbe, chapter 4. See also Derech Chaim by the Mitteler Rebbe, mentioned here at footnote 182.

With the lower-level of teshuva, we regret what we did. There is a lot of regretting going on with this level of teshuva. This is not allowed on Shabbos. See for example the Mishnah Berurah (306:38) which says that we are not allowed to read something that causes one to be sad on Shabbos.

However, the higher-form of teshuva, one is allowed to do. Because, this form of teshuva does one thing, bringing us back to Hashem and creating a stronger bond. Such thing can be done ofcourse on Shabbos.

The Alter Rebbe in Tanya, Igeres Hateshuva, chapter 10 goes on to say:

At the same time we must note the Beraita there, "Our Sages taught, 'One embarks on worship only with joy.'" In our bereaved generation, when not all are capable of turning their hearts instantly from the extreme of humility to joy, it is advised that the time for teshuvah tata'a be designated at Tikun Chatzot, as we noted above. Whoever cannot do this nightly should maintain an absolute minimum of once every week, before the Shabbat. It is familiar to the initiates that Shabbat is on the order of teshuvah ila'a, and the very letters of the word Shabbat spell tashev, as in, "You return man." On Shabbat all the worlds ascend to their source ... The Shabbat worship particularly is on the order of teshuvah ila'a. This will suffice for the knowledgeable.

So yes, teshuva requires remorse and regret on sins. However, there also exists another form of teshuva, which is more "joyful". Connecting to Hashem through Torah study.

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