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Chapter 130:1
TheTen Days of Repentance

1. As implied by their name, the "Ten Days of Repentance" ("Aseres Yemei Tshuvah") are set aside for repentance. During these days, every person is obligated to repent and turn to G-d before the advent of the great and awesome day, Yom Kippur [as implied by Leviticus 16:30]: "Purify yourselves before G-d," and [by Isaiah 55:6:] " Seek G-d when he is to be found." The Sages say that [the latter verse is referring] to the ten days between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur."

Therefore, during these days, a person must examine his conduct and turn away from his bad activities. More sincere repentance is required in the situation where one is unsure whether he sinned or not, than is the case when one knows that one has in fact sinned. When a person knows that he has sinned, he will regret his actions more than when he is unsure. For this reason, the guilt offering for doubtful sins requires a more expensive animal than a sin offering [for sins that he is certain he committed].

[During these ten days,] one should increase his Torah study, observance of mitzvos, and gifts to charity, and should reduce one's business involvement. Rav Moshe Cordovero z"l writes that these days are like Chol HaMo'ed, and one should therefore perform only such tasks that are absolutely necessary. In particular, one should pay attention to relationships with one's fellow man, correcting any wrongs that one might have performed, because one cannot receive atonement for such sins until one returns the stolen property or unjust gain and appeases one's colleague, so that he forgives the wrong.

 

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