Ashkenazi Jews began reciting Selichot prayers on Saturday night, unlike our Sephardi and Mizrachi brother and sisters who began on Rosh Hodesh Elul. We are now well into the reflective days leading up to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Those all-important preparation days when we need to ask forgiveness for any wrong doing that we have committed against others.  According to our traditions, we cannot ask for forgiveness for our transgressions against God before we ask forgiveness from the people we have wronged.

This can be a daunting task for an individual, how much more formidable for a nation. But we, all of Israel, need to ask forgiveness for the hatred and violence that has descended over our land and pained our souls.

The list of sins we ask to atone for on Yom Kippur, the Al Chet liturgy, is extensive; we ask to be forgiven for a myriad of sins done under duress or with a willing heart from hard heartiness, including: disrespecting our parents and teachers, swearing, tale bearing, excessive eating and drinking, taking bribes, to a confused heart with many more in-between.  

But new liturgy needs to be written. New liturgy that includes the sins that have been plaguing Israeli society.  Here are a few suggestions:

For the sin which we have committed before You by baseless hatred of Jew against Jew.

For the sin which we have committed before You by having morally bankrupt religious leaders who incite for violence.

For the sin which we have committed before You of committing murder in Your Name.

For the sin which we have committed before You by practicing bigotry and racism.

For the sin which we have committed before You of diviseness by not recognizing the multiple faces of Torah.

For the sin which we have committed before You by not permitting a huppah for the bride and groom.

For the sin which we have committed before You by putting a stumbling block in front of Jews by choice.

For the sin which we have committed before You of the erasure of 50 percent of am Yisrael from public spaces.

For the sin which we have committed before You of the silencing of women’s prayers.

For the sin which we have committed before You of mistreating strangers in our land even though we were strangers in Egypt.

It is time for Israel to ask God to forgive us and to pardon us for all these sins.

Please join Women of the Wall for Selichot prayers on Thursday, September 10 at 9:00 pm in the woman’s section of the Kotel.  Together, our voices, can reach upward, and help bring forgiveness to our land.

L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu

 


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