Wednesday, August 7, 2013

1 Elul: Sin

  • For the sin which we have committed before You under duress or willingly.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You by hard-heartedness.
  • For the sin which we have committed before You inadvertently.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You with an utterance of the lips.
  • For the sin which we have committed before You with immorality.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You openly or secretly.
  • For the sin which we have committed before You with knowledge and with deceit.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You through speech.
  • For the sin which we have committed before You by deceiving a fellowman.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You by improper thoughts.
  • For the sin which we have committed before You by a gathering of lewdness.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You by verbal [insincere] confession.
  • For the sin which we have committed before You by disrespect for parents and teachers.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You intentionally or unintentionally.
  • For the sin which we have committed before You by using coercion.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You by  desecrating the Divine Name.
  • For the sin which we have committed before You by impurity of  speech.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You by foolish  talk.
  • For the sin which we have committed before You with the evil  inclination.
  • And for the sin which we have committed before You knowingly or unknowingly.
For all these, God of pardon, pardon us, forgive us, atone for us. 



When I was younger and going to Jewish day school, I had a pretty healthy dose of Yir-at H-shem (Fear of G-d).  I had this constant anxiety that G-d sat on His Throne and judged me constantly.  Every Shabbat I didn't keep.  Every lie.  Every sin.

I kept wondering when the lightening bolt would drop from the sky and punish me for all my wrongdoings.  Eventually I figured out that G-d doesn't work that way.  He doesn't strike you down every time you misbehave. (Thank G-d!)  But what does He do?  What does He think?

Technically, I am constantly sinning.  My husband isn't Jewish.  The Torah says that's a pretty big sin.  In fact unlike other sins that require punishment by humans (like stoning), intermarriage sinning repercussion is left to G-d Himself.  (Ouch).

Is He disappointed in me?  When I got married, I didn't know it was a Torah commandment, I thought it was just a thing, like Italians marrying Italians (I'm married to an Italian).  Funny I went to Jewish day school and while intermarriage was taught as bad, no one every said it's Torah law.

I only eat Kosher food, but I don't have separate meat and dairy dishes yet.  So is that a sin too?

I use regular toothpaste on Shabbat.  And regular deodorant.  Sins?

I try not to gossip, but I am pretty sure I am guilty of the Lashon Harah (improper speech) sin.  Those laws are hard (but I am trying).

I lose my temper, which is equated to worshipping idols.  Yeah, that's sinful.

Honouring my parents has become much easier since our reconciliation, but still...sometimes they are just so...parental.  Inevitably I may let the eyes roll ever so slightly.  That's probably not very mench like behaviour.

I didn't cover my counters for Pesach and I don't daven (pray) three times a day.  I forget to say blessings before eating, and I definitely don't remember the ones for rainbows and thunder.

I'm not perfect and while I am striving to improve, I know next year, I probably won't be perfect either but that doesn't mean I won't keep working on patience and temper.  I consider those traits works in progress.

The scary thing is that sins stand out more once you start to improve.  I could Kosher my kitchen fully, but then I will probably discover other stringencies, other sins.  I could be a lot more patient, but the times I get annoyed will stand out just a little more.

The focus on the actual sin is what drags us down.  We could list out our weaknesses and  failures, but that doesn't bring us forward.  A friend told me in mountain bike racing, keep the bike moving forward, whether I was on the bike or off of it.  I could focus on the fact I couldn't make the climb or the obstacle and had to dismount or I could think about getting to the finish line (the goal) and push the bike forward (or drag it) but don't let the failure stop me.

Listing off some of my sins certainly gives me perspective.  Time to think about how to improve.



This is my second post based on writing prompts for Elul.  Please join me and link your page in the comments section.

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