To repent can you pour cold water on yourself in the shower. With a pot or something while having teshuva in mind for the sin? Does it do anything? Like I’ve heard people do it before Yom Kippur. Can I do it now as well?

  • Welcome. I wonder whether you are thinking of the item 9 under Tevilah in this article . Otherwise, it sounds like a too-easy way if doing teshuva. Nov 19 '18 at 10:13

The laws of Teshuva are well documented in the Rambam, in his 10 chapters of the Laws of Teshuva.

Of critical importance are aspects such as stopping to sin, deciding to never sin again and regretting the sin.

The Tefillah Zakkah recited by many before Yom Kippur states that one should fast and inflict oneself - with each sin having a prescribed number of fast-days and certain inflictions.

וְהִנֵּה יָדַעְנוּ כִּי אֲנַחְנוּ מְחֻיָּבִים לְהִתְעַנּוֹת עַל פִּי תִּקּוּנֵי הַתְּשׁוּבָה עַל כָּל חֵטְא וָחֵטְא, וּלְסַגֵּף אֶת גּוּפֵנוּ בִּתְשׁוּבַת הַמִּשְׁקָל נֶגֶד מַה שֶּׁהִתְעַנַּגְנוּ בַּעֲבֵרוֹת.‏

I suggest you review the above link which is in both Hebrew and English for the prerequisites of Teshuva, and once you've completed those steps, discuss with a Rabbi how to continue, and if there's a need to do so.

There's a custom to dip in the Mikveh on Erev Yom Kippur to cleanse oneself from those impurities that disappear when one goes to Mikveh. If one cannot get to a Mikveh, the custom is to pour on oneself a certain amount of water.

  • Just because Rambam doesn't mention self-punishment as an ingredient of teshuvah, doesn't mean it doesn't exist in our tradition. Look up Hassidei Ashkenaz and teshuvat hamishkal.
    – Joel K
    Nov 19 '18 at 11:01
  • 2
    From tefillah zakkah recited by many before Yom Kippur. וְהִנֵּה יָדַעְנוּ כִּי אֲנַחְנוּ מְחֻיָּבִים לְהִתְעַנּוֹת עַל פִּי תִּקּוּנֵי הַתְּשׁוּבָה עַל כָּל חֵטְא וָחֵטְא, וּלְסַגֵּף אֶת גּוּפֵנוּ בִּתְשׁוּבַת הַמִּשְׁקָל נֶגֶד מַה שֶּׁהִתְעַנַּגְנוּ בַּעֲבֵרוֹת.
    – Joel K
    Nov 19 '18 at 11:05
  • Self-punishment is discussed in many Kabbalic books following Ariz"ls tradition, but I didn't bring it here. It is a Jewish tradition, but it does not suite all.
    – Al Berko
    Nov 19 '18 at 11:08
  • @JoelK - It's still not a critical component of Teshuvah - and if you only do S.P and skip the prerequisites, you haven't done Teshuva. But I'll edit my answer. Nov 19 '18 at 11:10
  • See the introduction of mesilat yesharim
    – kouty
    Nov 19 '18 at 16:10
  1. Yes, the rationale is simple, according to Rambam' Hichot Teshuvah 1:4, suffering (in general) is an integral part of Teshuvah for certain sins.

  2. This suffering can be either voluntary or forced (from above). So assuming you transgressed a sin that requires a measure of suffering, you can surely ease it by causing suffer or inconvenience to yourself.

  3. BUT, this is nothing, comparing to learning Torah. You're better off putting your effort into Torah study instead of playing it a saint.

  • 4. BUT even learning Torah does not accomplish teshuvah, though it's valuable in it's own right. There are no shortcuts. Danny's answer is correct.
    – Heshy
    Nov 19 '18 at 10:59
  • @Heshy Not true (for me). Talmud Torah is worth like all Mitzvos combined and that INCLUDES Teshuvah. So theoretically one who studies Torah does Teshuvah by that alone. Also, studying Torah seriously is a harsher suffering for the OP (as I can see from his questions) than pouring cold water. Many seek fast tracks to the WTC but לפום צערא אגרא!
    – Al Berko
    Nov 19 '18 at 11:05
  • 2
    It may be worth all other mitzvos, but it does not replace all other mitzvos. By your argument, you can learn Torah and keep sinning, and you've done teshuvah!
    – Heshy
    Nov 19 '18 at 14:20
  • @Heshy I didn't understand your sarcasm. Learning Torah properly and devotedly makes the necessary Tikkunim and most sins can be worked out that way. We are not knowledgeable enough to know what Prashah learning corresponds to what sin but the idea is clear in the Kabbalah. Why do you think lighting Menorah can bring Teshuvah and learning Torah can't? You can tell you're not familiar with that doctrine in Judaism but don't make fun of yourself.
    – Al Berko
    Nov 19 '18 at 16:06
  • Learning Torah can definitely "bring" teshuvah if it inspires you to do teshuvah. But it is not the same as teshuvah. It's also not the same as eating matza or picking up a lulav.
    – Heshy
    Nov 19 '18 at 16:28

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