Confess the good as well this Yom Kippur

Rabbi Yakov Saacks, The Chai Center, Dix Hills, NY

So, Rosh Hashana 2020/5781 is in the books. We did our part by entreating God for a good year, and we are confident that God will grant our request in abundance.

Let’s talk Yom Kippur.

The holiday of Yom Kippur, when you think about it, is a tremendous gift. All we have to do is fast for 25 hours, ask for forgiveness for our transgressions, wrongdoings and misbehavior, and voila, we have a completely new slate. It is like the sins never happened.

The key ingredients needed are as follows; sincerity, humility and awareness. The Yom Kippur prayer book gives us the outline of how to confess silently and directly to God about the various behaviors that are abhorrent in God’s eyes. Essentially, we make an accounting of what we did wrong and then we regret what we did and then, most importantly, we resolve to take every effort to not repeat the same mistakes.

Most important to point out is, for interpersonal wrongdoings, atoning before God is of no consequence and we must address the person whom we have hurt, maligned or cheated. The Code of Jewish Law states clearly “God is unable to forgive interpersonal grievances, and that these have to be directed to the offended individuals.”

There is another element of Yom Kippur which is so out of the box, most people are not even aware that it even exists. Rav Kook, who was the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine in 1921, wrote that in order to have a true and proper spiritual accounting of our Souls, we must also include the good we have done and not just the bad.

The following is the text of the short confessional that we recite 10 times throughout Yom Kippur.

We have trespassed;

We have dealt treacherously;

We have robbed;

We have spoken slander;

We have acted perversely;

We have done wrong;

We have acted presumptuously;

We have done violence;

We have practiced deceit;

We have counseled evil;

We have spoken falsehood;

We have scoffed;

We have revolted;

We have blasphemed;

We have rebelled;

We have committed iniquity;

We have transgressed;

We have oppressed;

We have been stiff necked;

We have acted wickedly;

We have dealt corruptly;

We have committed abominations;

We have gone astray;

We have led others astray.


In addition to the above, Rav Kook suggests that we also say the following.


We have loved;

We have blessed;

We have grown;

We have spoken positively;

We have raised up;

We have shown compassion;

We have acted enthusiastically;

We have been empathetic;

We have cultivated truth;

We have given good advice;

We have respected;

We have learned;

We have forgiven;

We have comforted;

We have been creative;

We have stirred;

We have been spiritual activists,

We have been just;

We have longed for Moshiach;

We have been merciful;

We have given full effort;

We have supported;

We have contributed;

We have repaired;

Go ahead and confess, but always remember to recognize the good you have done. God needs to hear you say that you love yourself and so do you.

With blessings for a meaningful Yom Kippur and an easy fast.

As always please feel free to share.

About the Author
Rabbi Yakov Saacks is the founder and director of The Chai Center, Dix Hills, NY. The Chai Center has been nicknamed by some as New York's most Unorthodox Orthodox Center.
Related Topics
Related Posts