These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

An Honest Teshuva

Posted on October 2, 2014 by Meira Cohen

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אשמנו. בגדנו. גזלנו.

We have sinned. We are not worthy.

Meira CohenWe hang our heads in shame as we mournfully chant the words that we recited last year. And the year before that. The all too familiar words are heavy in our mouths, and our cheeks flush as the memories that surface transport us back to the lowlights of our year. To the moments we wish to bury, the people we wish we had never wronged. A year has passed, opportunities have come and gone, and yet I stand here, and I hope.

I hope that tomorrow I will wake up and not do an action about which today I confess.
I hope I am sincere in my apologies.
I hope I believe.

אהבנו. בכינו. גמלנו.

Gd, I beg you, do not look only at our sins.
You knew how fallible humans would be when you created us, flesh and blood, but still entirely in Your image.
Do not let us stand before you and be dishonest.

The sins that we confess are real, but they tell only half of our story.
We have rebelled, and yet we have been obedient.
We have hated for no reason, but we have also loved with all of our hearts.
We have forgotten you, but we have also called upon you with every fiber of our beings.

Forgive us, please, for the greatest sin of all: of striking our hearts so hard that we forget that it yet beats with longing for reconciliation.