Parshat Bechukotai states (26:40), “VeHitvadu Et Avonam Ve’et Avon Avotam BeMaalam Asher Maalu Vi,” “And they will confess their sin and the sin of their fathers, in their treachery that they committed against Me.” The Torah describes Bnei Yisrael as confessing for their sins, the primary step of Teshuvah. After confessing their sin, they must act on their feelings of regret and perform complete Teshuvah.
Let us briefly discuss this concept of Teshuvah. One Pasuk regarding Teshuvah that appears in Sefer Tehillim states that Teshuvah is like an arrow in the hands of hunters. How do these two ideas relate to each other?
One way to understand this is that the further an archer pulls the arrow back towards his heart, the more the arrow will accomplish. The more one pulls an arrow back, the stronger the shot will be. So, too, the closer one takes Teshuvah to his heart, the more successful it will be.
A second comparison is that the slightest mistake can throw an arrow off its target. If an archer is about to take his shot and somebody shouts to scare him, the shot might be thrown off only slightly at first, but as the arrow nears its target it will be completely off-course. Similarly, if one lets himself be slightly distracted from Teshuvah, even though at first it may not be a huge distraction, continuing to allow himself to be distracted will cause his Teshuvah to be thrown off-target.
One last similarity between these ideas is that when one lets go of the arrow, it will not come back. In an archery competition, if a championship shot is allowed to slip out of the archer’s hand before he is ready, the arrow will miss and the archer will lose. He now has no idea how long he will have to wait before he can retake that shot. Once again, this is similar to Teshuvah. If one mishandles an attempt for Teshuvah, he can have no idea how long it will take to prepare to reattempt that particular Teshuvah.
In the merit of our complete Teshuvah, may Mashiach come speedily in our days.