A Personal Al Cheyt

For the sin which we have committed before You willingly or because we felt pressured to, sinning to save face or avoid penalty, censure or scorn

And for the sin which we have committed before You by closing our eyes to the suffering of others, telling ourselves it is OK because we have to take care of things in our own lives, because we need our time or our money or our tax deduction before we can look to helping anyone else

And for the sin which we have committed before You by overlooking things we should have been aware of, by saying things without thinking that hurt others and not rectifying that, and for our lies and obfuscations and omissions

And for the sin which we have committed before You by not being to true to our own morals, going along with those of a community or group instead of recognizing and honoring what we know inside is right and good and true

And for the sin which we have committed before You in public or in private, deceiving others or deceiving ourselves

We cannot help our thoughts and can’t change them, but in our atonement ask that you judge us by how we respond to those thoughts and how we act, for that is the true basis of who we are being and how we are living.

And the sin which we have committed before You by seeking pleasure at the expense of others, ignoring responsibility because it overwhelms us, avoiding difficult situations because we “just can’t”

And for the sin which we have committed before You by seeking attention only through our clothing or sexuality and not making connections that go beyond that, for being shallow, for feeling entitled, for not using our gifts to do good but to look good.

And for the sin which we have committed before You by being insincere, whether at home or at work or in public or online, for using social media to create, by outright lie or manipulation, false perceptions

And for the sin which we have committed before You by disrespecting the elderly by ignoring and looking past them, rendering them invisible to us

And for the sin which we have committed before You by looking away from anyone different than ourselves, whether because they are disabled or overweight or of another race or different in any other way, or for pointing out their differences overtly and cruelly

And for the sin which we have committed before You by making other people do things, exerting peer pressure, whether for our own amusement or profit, utility or expedience, for coersion or exploitation, or even “when it’s for their own good”

And for the sin which we have committed before You by negating your importance, for feeling like nothing matters more than gratification of our immediate wants and needs, for skating on
the shallow ice of our own experiences and not seeking greater knowledge or spiritual connection or insight

And for the sin which we have committed before You by mocking people, drawing false parallels or using our voices to rally for hatred or destruction

And for the sin which we have committed before You by demeaning ourselves so that others laugh or feel better about themselves
For the sin which we have committed before You because we felt we just couldn’t help ourselves, or because we rationalize that the ends justify the means

For the sin we have committed before you by dismissing our bad behavior as “necessary” or “not a big deal” or “just a joke” or “locker room talk” or “what everyone does”

For all these, God of pardon, pardon us, forgive us, atone for us.

For the sin which we have committed before You by blaming others for our own misdeeds, for pointing fingers and avoiding blame and making excuses instead of owning up to our mistakes

And for the sin we have committed before you by being unwilling to forgive the mistakes of others, creating an unforgiving, pressured environment that fosters cover up and subterfuge instead of benevolence and kindness

And for the sin which we have committed before You by making bribes and taking bribes, even if that is the industry standard, even if is a business decision, even if you would have done the thing anyway, even if it creates opportunity for you or for others

And for the sin we have committed before you by not paying workers a living wage, because we can, dehumanizing them in our minds

And for the sin which we have committed before You by taking advantage of and taking from bosses, thinking they can afford it

And for the sin which we have committed before You because we want our children or spouse to have every advantage or because we have ourselves been treated badly and want to buffer our own shaky egos or situations

And for the sin which we have committed before You by feeling entitled to luxuries while others have no access to basic human necessities, feeling that selfishness and greed are practical and deserved and human nature

And for the sin which we have committed before You by taking advantage of the difficult circumstances of others, charging them more or paying them less because we smell their desperation

And for the sin which we have committed before You by ignoring strangers, excluding others, overstating or overvaluing our own worth, for determining our character in relation to others

And for the sin which we have committed before You by eavesdropping or trespass, looking through medicine chests or diaries or drawers or computers or phones

And for the sin which we have committed before You by being unable to look past our own image to see all else you have created around us

And for the sin which we have committed before You by thinking it’s funny or honest to be imperious and treat people poorly, to to lash out or be brusque or belittle others through words or manner because that’s “who we are” or that’s what we can do

For all these, God of pardon, pardon us, forgive us, atone for us.

And for the sin which we have committed before You in putting our comfort above the needs of others

And for the sin which we have committed before You in making harsh judgements without sufficient information, being curt or challenging because we assume it our role and our right, and mistaking tact for insincerity

And for the sin which we have committed before You by deciding we don’t like someone and trashing them to others, magnifying elements of their persona or character to jibe with our initial impression

And for the sin which we have committed before You by begrudging others what we do not have, casting aspersions on their triumphs and successes instead of celebrating them

And for the sin which we have committed before You by creating lives centered around shared indulgence and extravagance, perhaps making self-deprecating references to our own excesses but using it as a means of both self and social definition

And for the sin which we have committed before You by being stubborn, unwilling to look beyond or own beliefs and traditions and positions to empathize or understand others

And for the sin which we have committed before You by being short-tempered and self-focused

And for the sin which we have committed before You by blaming technology for our own human error

And for the sin which we have committed before You by scapegoating groups or individuals, using anecdote to cast aspersions or promote hatred and division

And for the sin which we have committed before You by taking what is not ours to take and giving what is not ours to give.

For all these, God of pardon, pardon us, forgive us, atone for us.

And for the sin which we have committed before You by feeling pride in our gifts and not gratitude

And for the sin which we have committed before You by not respecting the boundaries of others, or enforcing our own

And for the sin which we have committed before You by not feeling a sense of civic obligation and not voting or getting involved
And for the sin which we have committed before You by creating false heros and ignoring real ones

And for the sin which we have committed before You worrying more about our weight or hair than war, destruction or human suffering

And for the sin which we have committed before You when we teach children to be competitive, not kind

And for the sin which we have committed before You when we idolize power as strength, relinquishing our own

And for the sin which we have committed before You by losing ourselves in phones, computers, tv-technology replacing identity, entertainment replacing reality and community becoming virtual

And for the sin which we have committed before You by appreciating assimilation more than we value difference

And for the sin which we have committed before You by taking the earth and its beauty for granted, and not taking care of our environment, or even fighting to avoid the costs and inconvenience of preserving nature as you made it

And for the sin which we have committed before You by taking those we love, and those who love us, for granted

And for the sin which we have committed before You by taking our health for granted

And for the sin which we have committed before You being by short tempered and not apologizing and taking responsibility after we are

And for the sin which we have committed before You by ignoring the opinions of others while intent to make a point

We atone for what we know we have done, what we don’t know we have done, and what we have avoided knowing.

The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things are for us and for our children forever, that we may carry out all the words of this Torah. For You are the Pardoner of Israel and the Forgiver of the tribes of Yeshurun in every generation, and aside from You we have no King who forgives and pardons.

About the Author
Judi Zirin is an attorney and freelance writer in the New York area.
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