12/25/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Has Joe Lieberman Followed The Ancient Jewish Process of Repentance?

In an exchange this weekend with Tom Brokaw, Joe Lieberman said he regretted some of what he'd said during the campaign.

Brokaw said, "I hear the word regret, but not the word apologize."

Lieberman responded that he's "going forward," adding, "You can take from the word 'regret' what you will. I wish I had not said some of the things I've said. But again, we all do it."

Putting aside the particulars of what Lieberman said during the campaign, I'm pretty sure that "we all do it" is not part of the Jewish tradition for achieving spiritual purity.

Rabbi Shraga Simmons on summarizes the Jewish process of Teshuva, or repentance:

Step 1 - Regret. Realize the extent of the damage and feel sincere regret.

Step 2 - Cessation. Immediately stop the harmful action.

Step 3 - Confession. Articulate the mistake and ask for forgiveness.

Step 4 - Resolution

In the rest of the essay, he notes that the process is sometimes hobbled by particular excuses that we devise, some of which might be of particular interest to Lieberman