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Teshuvah: from the Hebrew root “to return” and often translated as “repentance,” teshuvah represents an answer to spiritual or intellectual challenge, just as a question requires a response and a home awaits a return. Teshuvah expresses a restoration of personal balance and a return to spiritual center. Maimonides on Teshuvah explores the thought of Judaism’s greatest philosopher on the process of finding a path through the thicket of transgressions past and present, seeking the elusive yet healing light of forgiveness--from God, from others, and even from one’s own self.

“A Master of Teshuvah should not think that he is far from the level of the righteous because of the sins he committed, intentionally or otherwise. This is not so. Rather, he is beloved and cherished by the Creator as if he had never sinned at all. Furthermore, his reward is greater, for he tasted the taste of sin and separated from it, conquering his evil inclination. The Sages taught that in the place where the Masters of Teshuvah stand, not even the completely righteous can stand.” (The Ways of Repentance, 7:4)

Author of the brilliant Guide for the Perplexed and the massive Mishneh Torah, Moses Maimonides’ thought continues to influence and inspire students almost a thousand years after his passing in 1204. Known as the Great Eagle for his incomparable mastery of Jewish scholarship, of Maimonides it has been said “from Moses to Moses, there was no one like Moses.”

Maimonides on Teshuvah is a translation and commentary on The Ways of Repentance, the first comprehensive study of teshuvah in Jewish literary history. In this work, Maimonides surveys the philosophical, psychological, and practical aspects of teshuvah. Carefully weaving threads drawn from the tapestry of Jewish religious writings, Maimonides describes the theoretical foundations of teshuvah (free will versus predeterminism, nature versus nurture, and the afterlife) and provides pragmatic recommendations for readers who yearn for the cleansing power of teshuvah.

Dr. Henry Abramson serves as Dean at Touro’s Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Brooklyn, New York. A native of northern Ontario, he earned his PhD in History from the University of Toronto, and is the author of several books on Jewish history and thought.

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