Is feeling remorse, praying for forgiveness and studying Torah enough to rectify the heavy sin of wasting seed ?

I know that every sin has its own unique way of "correcting" or rectifying it.

And since I can't marry currently, I can't do other than that to correct what I did.

And what makes me concerned even more is that I did read in a Jewish website that "Wasting seed is more severe then manslaughter, for here he is spilling his own blood and the blood of his children. In the Zohar parshas vyache it says all evil people can repent except those that commit this sin."

P.S: I am not a Jew, but let's consider that I am a Jew in this instance.

  • 6
    To repent for any sin: Have remorse. [Ask forgiveness from those harmed if applicable and make financial restitution to them if applicable.] Confess orally to God. Promise not to do it again. (It's a deceptively simple process.)
    – Double AA
    Aug 14, 2015 at 17:59
  • 1
    I would recommend you watch Rabbi Yaron Reuven on Youtube he has a whole series on it. May 26, 2021 at 22:00
  • 3
    NO NO NO NO stay FAR FAR FAR FAR away from Yaron Reuven.
    – Shalom
    May 27, 2021 at 9:57

5 Answers 5


For jews

kitzur shulchan aruch 151.7

Rectification for one who failed in this sin  are written in the book ''Yesod Yosef''  which was gathered and brought together from earlier holy books, and I will write here a little from them in brief.  It is good to be a Sandek that has children circumcised on his knees and particularly to be a Sandek for poor people.  To give much charity to the poor.  To keep Shabbat according to its' laws and to light many candles.To honor and love Torah study.  To pray with intention and sorrowfully.  To choose the trait of humilty. When one hears others cursing one, one should be silent and forgive them. When one carries out any religious duty,  one should do it with strength and speedily until one completes it, and particularly when preparing the matzot for Pesach.  To bring up his children to study Torah and to teach them the fear of Heaven. To bring up an orphan in his home and treat him like his own son. To busy himself with the religious duty of marrying off a single girl. To be called up to the Torah at least once every month  and to say the blessings out aloud. Also to look in the Torah and read quietly along with the Reader.  To be in the first ten (to arrive at) the synagogue.  To stand at midnight and do ''Tikkun Chatzot'' sorrowfully, and if one is not able to get up at midnight,  one should do ''Tikkun Chatzot'' later. To love peace and pursue peace.

(Tanya) igeres hateshuva chapter 3

The latter Musar sages were divided about one who repeated a sin several times. Some contend that he must fast the number of fasts appropriate to that sin according to the number of transgressions. For example, the number of fasts prescribed in the penances of the Ari for wasteful emission of semen is eighty-four. If someone commits this sin ten or twenty times, say, he must fast ten or twenty times eighty-four, and so on in all instances. These sages compare the fasts to thechatat offering required for every instance of violation.

Others compare fasts to the olah offering brought for neglect of a positive command. Violation of a number of positive commands is atoned for by one olah, as the Talmud explains in Zevachim, ch. I.

The accepted decision in this dispute is to fast three times the number of fasts prescribed for that specific sin, i.e. 252 for emission, and similarly for other sins. This is based on an observation in Zohar, end of Noach; as soon as mortal man is guilty one time before the Holy One, blessed be He, he makes an impression ... the third time the stain penetrates from one side through the other... Therefore the number of fasts ought also be three ...

However, all this applies to the strong and healthy, whose physical vigour would not be sapped at all by repeated fasts, as in the generations of yore. But whoever would be affected by many fasts, and might suffer illness or pain, G-d forbid, as in contemporary generations, is forbidden to engage in many fasts. This ban concerns even sins of excision or execution, and certainly the positive and prohibitory commands that do not involve excision. Instead the measure of fasting is the personal estimate of what he can tolerate without doubt.

For even in those early Talmudic generations, only the robust who could

mortify themselves fasted so frequently. But whoever cannot fast and does, is called "sinner" in Taanit, ch. I. This applies even to one who fasts for specifically known sins, as Rashi explains there, and we find inZevachim, ch. I, that there is no one of Israel who is not guilty of a positive commandment ...

It goes without saying that a student of Torah who fasts, sins and is doubly punished, for the weakness resulting from his fast prevents him from studying Torah properly.

What then is his alternative ? "Your sin redeem with charity." The codifiers of Torah law specified for each fast day of repentance approximately eighteen (coins) .. . The wealthy shall add according to his means ... See Magen Avraham on laws of Fasts.

Nonetheless, every man of spirit who desires to be close to G-d, to repair his soul, to return it to G-d with the finest and most preferred repentance, shall be stringent with himself. He should complete, at least once during his life span, the number of fasts for every grave sin incurring death at least, if only death by divine agency. For example, for wasteful emission he should undergo the series of eighty-four fasts once in his life. He may postpone the fasts until the shorter winter days and fast some ten days or less, for example, in one winter, and complete the series of eighty-four in nine or more years according to his stamina. (Besides, he may also eat a little about three hours before sunrise, and this would still be considered a fa'st, if he so stipulated.)

For the completion of the mentioned 252, he may fast another four rimes eighty-four until past noon, which the Talmud Yerushalmi considers a fast. In this context, two half-days are reckoned as one full day. Naturally, this approach applies to any other sins, for each heart knows its own anguish and desires its vindication.

There still remain the fasts in excess of the 252, or whatever amount, that he ought to fast in deference to the more stringent opinion insisting on the appropriate number of fasts for every violation committed, as noted. These may be redeemed with charity, approximating eighteen (coins) for each fast day. Charity may redeem all other fasts that he should have undergone for sins not entailing death, and even for neglecting a positive command, Torah or Rabbinic, and neglect of "Torah study which equals them all," aaxurding to the number of fasts prescribed by the Ari's penances. (Most of these are noted in Mishnat Chassidim, Tractate Teshuvah.) All of these fasts he may redeem with charity if he cannot mortify himself, as noted.

Though this might amount to a considerable sum, he need not fear for the injunction, "Do not distribute more than one fifth." These circumstances are not "distribution" for charity, since he does this to release himself from fasting and affliction. This is no less necessary than medicine for his body or his other needs.

The number of fasts enumerated in the above-mentioned penances is exceedingly great. Therefore all who revere the word of G-d are now accustomed to being unstintingly generous with charity, for the prevalent lack of hardihood prevents them from mortifying themselves over much. (A comment is made elsewhere on this subject on the verse, "The kindnesses of G-d, for they are not concluded.")

For commentaries of the tanya see http://m.chabad.org/library/tanya/tanya_cdo/aid/7936/jewish/Chapter-3.htm

  • The Rebbe wrote in many letters that one should not dwell on these matters, even for the purpose of rectification, as that only leads to further temptation. Rather, one should increase in learning and davening and avoid things like fasting which weaken the body and make it harder to make positive improvements.
    – shmosel
    Mar 1 at 5:36
  • @shmosel can you reference one, please ?
    – Shababnik
    Mar 3 at 2:42
  • hebrewbooks.org/…
    – shmosel
    Mar 3 at 3:36

Tikkun haKlali, reciting the ten Psalms prescribed and discovered by Rabbi Nachman ztz"l was specific for this accidental occurence of a wet dream (often but not always brought on by daytime thoughts or occurences), and he says it's a complete remedy (after first immersing if possible or washing) that you needn't worry at all of any bad effect afterwards, but it's also a General Remedy which is its translation. R' Nachman said, Not only you but also all the nations of the world need me..

  • 1
    Good answer. People should read the Psalms as recommended for this sin and others.
    – Turk Hill
    Jun 29, 2021 at 4:37

See what the Stiepler writes on this topic in Kreina Digraasah. He addresses doing Teshuva for it in many response letters. Among other other things he writes that one hour of learning Torah does more to rectify this aveira than many fasts.

As far as the Jewish website which writes "Wasting seed is more severe then manslaughter, for here he is spilling his own blood and the blood of his children. In the Zohar parshas vyache it says all evil people can repent except those that commit this sin." The Steipler writes that anyone who understands that in a literal sense has no understanding of Kabbalah. In fact the Toldos Adom (written about Rav Zalman Volozhiner by the Vilna Maggid with an haskoma from the Vilna Gaon) gives that very quote as example of why the unlearned masses should not be learning Kabbala to begin with.

None of the above is ch'v meant to mitigate the severity of the avaira of Zera L'Vatalah itself. It is only addressing the concept that there is no teshuva


Here is an excellent article that answers your question. See here. Also, go study in your Yeshivah and learn Torah to make teshuva. To make proper teshuva Rambam says that you must understand the wrong, instil good habits to prevent the wrong from happening again, apologize to anyone who was hurt, and do not repeat the misdeed. You must also believe that you could do better and that teshuva works.

  • 1
    I recently heard Tovia Singer say "you know how many people would still be married if they had just said 'I'm sorry for what I did, I regret it and will never do it again" :(
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jan 21 at 16:13

Pretty sure fasting and repenting is the correct option. Need to find a source (I know it says it in the "Torah Anthology"). If you can't fast you can donate money (cost of the meals you would be missing) to poor people. Fasting is just a start though, the main part is to truly feel remorse and not do it again.

  • From which time (hour) to which time should the fasting take place ?
    – mil
    Aug 14, 2015 at 18:15

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