The Importance of Saying "I'm Sorry"

Parsha Points- Naso by Ariel Freda, a student at Midreshet Devora


Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone in their life time at some point or another will do something wrong. By nature, we as human beings are built to fail sometimes, and that is exactly what we do. However, part of the beauty in Judaism is the concept of tshuva, which allows us to come back from things that we have done wrong.


In Parshat Naso, God tells Moshe: “When a man or woman commits any of the sins against man to act treacherously against God, and that person is [found] guilty,  they shall confess the sin they committed…” This seems very clear. Anyone who sins and is proven to be guilty needs to admit that they have done wrong. When we study the concept of tshuva , we see different steps such as recognition of the sin, repentance, correcting the wrong of the sin, sacrifice, mikvah, and confession (vidui). You would think that after having already corrected one’s behavior and making things better it would be enough. Why does one need to verbally admit the sin committed?


It is very easy for people to just say the words “I’m sorry” and be done with the situation. However, when we are forced to verbalize something, we reach a whole new level of reality in which the sin that has been committed becomes something a little more tangible for us to deal with. We admit things so that we know that they are real. By not verbalizing or confessing the sin or wrongdoing, it is as if we ignore it entirely and don’t apologize, specifically, for that sin. When we verbalize what we have done, our sincerity increases.


What does all of this mean?  Why do we confess our sins? Why does God need to hear our sins being confessed? He is God after all, He knows everything. He knows how sorry we are for the sins we commit whether we admit it or not. But we do not do vidui for His sake, we do it for ours. Doing vidui helps us understand the wrongs we have committed so that we are able to complete full tshuva and recognize the essence of what was done wrong.


We live in a world where many people say “I’m sorry” whenever they can and think that is enough. We need to be able to truly see what sins and wrongs we commit as well as admit our wrongdoings not just to the other person and not just to God, but to ourselves. In this way we can have a complete tshuva and get just that much closer to making this world an even more suitable dwelling place for God.


Ariel Freda is from Seattle Washington. She is enjoying her time at Midreshet Devora and she is looking forward to attending Yeshiva University’s Stern College and Sy Syms School of Business in the fall.