The five letters of the word teshuva, concluded Rabbi Shmuel to Rabbi Sholom DovBer, are five paths and methods in the avoda of teshuva, through which one arrives at actual repentance.

My father [Rabbi Sholom Dov-Ber] told me that the word teshuva is comprised of five letters, each signifying a path and a method in the avoda of teshuva, all to be realized, brought from potential to actual, through prayer.

He graciously elaborated on the five methods, of which I will discuss only the core briefly.

The first method of avodas hateshuva:

Tamim . . . , You shall be sincere with G‑d. This represents the avoda of teshuva that comes through sincerity. Sincerity, or wholeness, takes any number of forms and has many levels. In reference to teshuva, the highest form is wholeness of heart; as Torah says of Avraham, 1 You found his heart faithful2 before You,-the wholeness of heart called earnestness.

The second method of avodas hateshuva:

Shiviti . . . , I have set G‑d (Havayeh) before me always. Havayeh indicates the creation of the universe and creatures. Creation and the sustenance of it all is in a unique manner, ex nihilo.3 This form of the avoda of teshuva results from one's constant awareness of the way in which the universe and all that is in it, is (constantly) brought into being.

The third method of avodas hateshuva:

V'ahavta . . . , Love your neighbor as yourself. The Alter Rebbe taught that this love is a means to achieve 'Love the Eternal, your G‑d.4 Our Sages declared, 5'Whoever is pleasing to man is pleasing to G‑d. This service of teshuva stems from goodness of heart.

B'chol . . . , In all your ways, know Him. One who carefully observes all that happens to him and around him will see tangible evidence of G‑d everywhere. Rabbi DovBer, the Mitteler Rebbe, pointed out the advantage, in this respect, of working folk over Torah students in that the former have more opportunity to witness the actual manifestations of G‑d. This form of the service of teshuva comes from recognizing Divine Providence in the events of daily life.

The fifth method of avodas hateshuva:

Hatznei'a . . . , Walk discreetly with your G‑d. One must take care not to be conspicuous or ostentatious in the slightest. It is said, Man should always be artful in piety. 6 This artfulness lies in the ability to conceal one's piety. We know that a number of the early chasidim concealed their true selves, and when discovered were sincerely distressed. This is the avoda of teshuva that comes from hatznei'a lechet, being discreet.

In summation, the five methods of the avoda of teshuva comprise five avenues in Divine service. Each one of the five paths is a comprehensive avenue to be followed in all phases of man's service of G‑d, not in repentance alone. Each one flows from the well-spring flowing from the house of G‑d7 -Chasidus. We can bring these paths from potentiality to actuality through the avoda of prayer, which is the foundation of effort and the pillar of deed. In this way, the Divine purpose of Creation, viz. the Holy One, blessed be He, desired to have an abode in the lowest world is fulfilled.