When a person does such a bad aveirah like killing someone, how can teshuva take away his sin?
The truth is that teshuva can take away the sin not only of killing one person, but even when he kills a multitude of people teshuva helps. We see that Nevuzradan was רב טבחין – it means he slaughtered many people – and yet we know that he ran away and did teshuva; he became a ger and from him came forth Rabbi Meir, the Tanna.
Now, the question is, what’s the justice of that? And the answer is, we must know that included in the secrets of Hakodosh Boruch Hu’s ways is that nobody is killed just because a murderer wanted to kill him; everybody receives only what is owing to him. On the Yom Hadin it’s foretold in the pinkes shel maaleh; it’s recorded already what’s going to happen to him. Of course when some rasha chooses of his own free will to be themessenger to carry out the gezar din, certainly he’ll be punished for it. Nobody will be exonerated just because he did what was already decreed. However suppose that rasha repents, his repentance is accepted. His victim was supposed to die at that time anyhow and therefore no injustice was done to the victim. So therefore, teshuva helps for everything.
That doesn’t mean however that for a serious crime a man can get away by doing teshuva; besides for doing teshuva certainly he will need yesurim in this world. He must undergo a certain amount of severe suffering for aveiros of chayvei misas bais din and chayvei krisus. It will come! It may take time but it will come; he will get what is coming to him. But instead of being merely a punishment, it will be upon him as a form of miruk; which means it will purify him.
And therefore we can say that teshuva helps for everything. Only that it depends; if it was a sin of a mitzvas assei; for example he missed zman keriyas shema, so then אינו זז משם עד שמוחלין לו – as soon as he does teshuva it is forgiven. That’s for missing a mitzvas asei.
But if he transgressed a mitzvas lo saaseh, then the Torah doesn’t give him any forgiveness immediately; תשובה תולה ויום הכיפורים מכפר – he needs teshuva plus Yom Kippur. If he transgressed a laav then he must do teshuva and wait for Yom Kippur.
And if he transgressed chayvei krisus or chayvei missas bais din he needs even more than that; he needs also yesurim. So there will be suffering too. But if he prepared himself with teshuva then the yesurim is a miruk; it purifies him.
However, there are certain substitutes for suffering that Rabeinu Yonah speaks about at length in his Shaarei Teshuva. He quotes the possuk, בחסד ואמת יכפר עון – By means of kindness and truth his sins will be forgiven. If a man does chesed on a very big scale; if he goes into the mitzvah of tzedaka and chesed on a very big scale – he goes all out for chesed – so that can help to be mechaper the avon; it can save him from the yesurim he should get for his previous misdeeds. And also “emes – truth.” Rabeinu Yonah says that means the Torah; like in the possuk אמת קנה, אל תמכור. And so if a person wants to make sure that he won’t be punished for his previous misdeeds, then he has to put in a great deal of effort – more than an ordinary person needs to do – in Torah and supporting Torah learners and in doing chesed and that could be sufficient to atone and to be a substitute for his yesurim.
TAPE # 608