||Classical work on teshuvah by R. Jonah b. Abraham Gerondi. This edition, printed on colored paper, with the approval of the Vilna censor, does not give the date or exact place of publication. From the typography it appears to be an early to mid-nineteenth century edition from a press in the Polonnoye region, although its foliation does not concur with any of the descriptions in the Bet Eked Sepharim. Text is complete but some pages are bound out of order. Sha’arei Teshuvah (Gates of Repentance) is one of the basic works of Judaism on repentance and conduct. It is divided into four portals (sha’arim), namely repentance and its principles; how one may awaken himself to return to God; recognizing the stringency of the mitzvot and the punishments for their violation; and Atonement. Each of these portals is in turn subdivided into smaller units.
R. Jonah ben Abraham Gerondi (Rabbenu Yonah, c. 1200-1263) was a cousin of Nahmanides (Ramban), who married Rabbenu Yonah’s father’s sister, and a student of the brothers R. Moses and R. Samuel ben Shneur Evreux and afterwards R. Solomon ben Abraham of Montpellier. When the latter opposed and placed a ban on Maimonides’ Moreh Nevukhim Rabbenu Yonah was a signatory, an action he later regretted and publicly repented after Maimonides books were burned by the Inquisition. Rabbenu Yonah determined to settle in Erez Israel, but was delayed in Barcelona where he gave discourses for three years. He again set out for the Holy Land, but in Toledo the community induced him to stay and instruct them. Rabbenu Yonah founded a yeshivah there and died before he could complete his journey. Among his students are R. Solomon ben Abraham Adret (Rashba), R. Solomon ben Eli of Sarai and R. Hillel ben Samuel of Verona. It is from the latter that we have biographical information about Rabbenu Yonah.
Sha’arei Teshuvah is Rabbenu Yonah’s most important and influential work. Among the other ethical works written by him are Iggeret Teshuvah (Constantinople, 1548), Sha’arei ha-Avodah (Bnei Brak, 1967), recently discovered and, although the attribution is uncertain, credited to Rabbenu Yonah. He also wrote a commentary on Hilkhot Rav Alfas, compiled by his students, of which only the portion on Berakhot has been published; novellae on Bava Batra and Sanhedrin, as well as on other tractates that are no longer extant; and commentaries on Proverbs and Avot.