Wednesday, September 12, 2007
L'shana tova

Let me start with a short story.

This is what I learned about "sin" growing up as a little Jewess.

The word for "sin" in Judaism is het.

A word meaning, "to go astray".

It is actually an archery term. It means to miss the target.

Did you take archery in summer camp? How often did you hit the bullseye?

It's fairly difficult isn't it? With practice however, you got closer and closer. I know I did.

This is how I learned about "sin".


Tonight is the first night of the Jewish new year.

It begins a time of reflection for Jews. One of the rituals is called "tashlich" which is traditionally a recalling and casting out of one's "sins" by throwing bread crumbs into moving water.

For someone who focuses on her multitude of sins far too often (not to mention someone who doesn't eat bread), I went looking for something that was meaningful to me this time of the year that didn't involve the further gnashing of teeth and beating the breast since that is something with which I am very familiar.

actually means casting away and comes from the same root as the shedding of foliage on trees.

This seemed to make sense to me. In order to bring new into my life, I needed to cast out some of my old habits, some of the things I have in my life that are not serving me well that are not nourishing me, that are causing me to wither.

I ask myself this year, what am I ready to release?


This is also a time of forgiveness. This is a difficult one for me. Both forgiving myself and forgiving others.
I am working on this forgiveness thing. I don't have it down.

I don't have a hard time admitting my mistakes generally. When it's all my responsibility, I'm especially eager to step up. I can say, "I'm sorry. It's all me." and feel like I've done teshuvah

The problem comes when I don't feel like I'm fully "at fault". I don't like being the only one to take responsibility when it's not all mine.
I have a hard time admitting my mistakes when it's not reciprocated.

The point of teshuvah is taking responsibility for your own actions without reciprocity though.

I plan on reflecting on this statement in the next couple of days by R
abbi Adin Steinsaltz:

"Time flows in one direction; it is impossible to undo or even to alter an action after it has occurred and become an 'event', an objective fact. However, even though the past is 'fixed', repentance allows one to rise above it, to change its significance for the present and the future ... It is the potential for something else. "

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Blogger dale-harriet said...

Faith - I pause on this day; I ponder, I think and wonder. I remember saying that it seems to me that, when "the way the world is going" becomes truly untenable, you die of old age. Sometimes lately - I think the day's approaching. But then, you know, I read YOU, I knit, I see my cats; no, I think I'd like to be written again for one more year, please. {Raising an apple slice dripping honey to the west!}L'shana tova to you!

Blogger Orangeblossoms said...

I love the sin analogy. Thank you, Faith, as usual, for a thought provoking post. Mind if I use the sin analogy in a sermon sometime?

Happy New Year.... (among other things...)

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