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Home -- Content: Series 7 (Laws) -- Translation: English -- Book: 1 (Tora) -- Part: 1 (Positive) -- Command: 73 -- Text
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The Sharia of Moses in the TORA
Part 1 - The 248 Positive Commandments of the Tora

73 - MAKING CONFESSION


Numbers 5:6-7 -- 6 “Speak to the children of Israel: 'When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the LORD, and that person is guilty, 7 then he shall confess the sin which he has committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to the one he has wronged”
Leviticus 5:5 -- “And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing”
Leviticus 26:40 -- “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me”
Leviticus 16:21 -- “Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.”

“It is impossible for man to be entirely free from error and sin; he either does not know the opinion which he has to choose, or he adopts a principle, not for its merits, but in order to gratify his desire or passion. If we were convinced that we could never make our crooked ways straight, we should for ever continue in our errors, and perhaps add other sins to them not being aware that any remedy was left to us. But the belief in the effect of repentance causes us to improve, to mend our ways, and to become more perfect than we were before we sinned. For this reason many things are prescribed for the promotion of this very useful principle; e.g. confessions and sacrifices for sine committed unknowingly, and in some cases even for sins committed intentionally, and fasts, and that which is common to all cases of repentance from sin, the resolve to discontinue sinning.”*

* Moreh Nebuchim III, 36

The essence of confession is that it contains the two elements of repentance, i.e. regret over the sin committed, and the resolve never again to repeat the offence. Its formula, as given by Maimonides, is: “O God, I have sinned, I have done iniquity, I have transgressed against Thee, and have done thus and thus. I am sorry and ashamed of my deeds, and I will never do it again.”*

* Mishneh Torah, Mada, Hilchoth Teshubah I, 1

“Supreme above all excellences,” exclaims Maimonides, “is the excellence of repentance. Only yesterday this (sinner) was separated from the Lord, the God of Israel, as it is said, But your iniquities have separated you from your God (Isaiah 59:2); crying (unto the Lord) without being answered, as it is said, Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. (Isaiah 1:15); observing commandments only to have them hurled back in his face, as it is said, When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand to trample My courts? (Isaiah 1:12) – Who is there even among you who would shut the doors, so that you would not kindle fire on My altar in vain? (Malachi 1:10): this same man today (by virtue of repentance) has become attached unto the Lord, as it is said, But you who held fast to the LORD… etc. (Deuteronomy 4:4); his cries are immediately answered, as it is said, It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer… (Isaiah 65:24); his observance of the commandments is cheerfully and joyously accepted, as it is said, God has already accepted your works. (Ecclesiastes 9:7) – nay, it is eagerly sought after (from on High), as it is said, Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasant to the LORD, as in the days of old, as in former years. (Malachi 3:4)”*

* Mishneh Torah, Mada, Hilchoth Teshubah VII, 7

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