Are those who are below 20, forgiven by Hashem more easily than others?

The Gemmorah in Shabbat 89b says:

"דל עשרין דלא ענשת עלייהו" - Subtract the first twenty years of his life. [One is not punished for sins committed then, as in heavenly matters, a person is only punished from age twenty].

For example, if one is below 20 chas veshalom wasted seed, will Hashem forgive him right away if he does Teshuva, or will he have to go through the long Teshuva process that others would have to go through?

How is the Teshuva for one who is below 20 different than one who is above 20? And how much more does Hashem forgive one who is below 20?

  • do you have a source which provides any reason to think that there is an age at which (besides bar mitzvah) things change? Are you connecting this to any biblical notion that 20 changes one's status?
    – rosends
    Sep 30, 2018 at 20:27
  • Yes. I do not know if this is true, but I believe I heard that there are sources that punishment starts after age 20. Is this true? If it is not, please correct me. @rosends Sep 30, 2018 at 20:40
  • 2
    Related (dupe?): judaism.stackexchange.com/q/76360/9682
    – DonielF
    Sep 30, 2018 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


The only question of the 3 you asked, that can be reliably answered is "How is the Teshuva for one who is below 20 different than one who is above 20?"

The answer is NO, the Halacha does not differentiate anything but before and after the age of 13.

The other questions [wrongfully] assume there's a tariff for Mitzvot and transgressions everybody is judged against. That contradicts the Mishnah in Avot 2:1:

"וֶהֱוֵי זָהִיר בְּמִצְוָה קַלָּה כְבַחֲמוּרָה, שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ מַתַּן שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל מִצְוֹת."

"And be as careful with a light commandment as with a weighty one, for you do not know the reward given [for the fulfillment] of [the respective] commandments."

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