Al Chet [For The Sin…] 5778

Each year, Jews throughout the world recite a part of the liturgy that has become known by its first words, which repeat throughout the text:  Al Chet. Some prayer texts have updated the list of sins that a person may have committed, and that certainly someone in one’s prayer community has committed.  In reflecting on my year and on the year of our community and our world, I offer the following Al Chet:

For these sins…

  • For not demonstrating what Rav Kook spoke of as ahavat chinam, unconditional love
  • For not adequately using the thinking skills God has given us:
    • Da’at – Intelligence, knowledge
    • Bina – Understanding
    • Haskel – Insight, critical thinking
    • Chochmah – Wisdom
  • For forgetting to show respect for those with whom we disagree
  • For not being Godlike by balancing strict justice with mercy, and not teaching that balance to the world
  • For not holding personal integrity as the primary prerequisite for leadership
  • For not being supportive enough of Israel and guaranteeing its security
  • For not expressing the value that Israel must hold itself to a different and higher standard
  • For not being a patriotic enough citizen of our country to demonstrate allegiance and to demand that it be a beacon of liberty and freedom
  • For allowing bullying and insulting behavior in communications and allowing people to confuse it with strength
  • For not stepping forward to strongly condemn all hatred and rooting it out immediately, especially as we still live in the shadow of the Shoah
  • For not doing the small, individual things that demonstrate our partnership with God in protecting the environment
  • For putting obstacles in the way of individuals who wish to be part of our synagogues, our schools, our Jewish community
  • For using Judaism as a tool to punish rather than as a tool to repair the world
  • For performing rote prayer and ritual, forgetting that they are there to speak to us

For all these, Lord of Forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.

 

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